[Governance] Bodysnatching and Cybercafe

I’m not sure whether to be outraged or shake my head at the sheer stupid excuses our Parliamentarians and Ministers can give at times. Call me paranoid, but when I see reports like these, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just a cover for something else, because records kept by the Government have a bad habit of biting other people in the ass. Emphasis mine from the article:

Dewan Rakyat: Curbs on cybercafes
CYBERCAFES will soon be required to submit a record of their customers to the Housing and Local Government Ministry. This was aimed at stopping schoolchildren from loitering at such places during school hours, said Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin. This was part of several moves to tighten regulations governing these centres. His ministry will also work with authorities to conduct regular raids on cybercafes in efforts to stop gaming.

Also, I find his comment about gaming disqueting. Excuse me, Mr Minister, who gave you the right to restrict my gaming? And why are you babysitting parents? If their child has excessive gaming habits, then they should be the ones to take care of it, not you.

A more disturbing piece of news comes from Malaysiakini and is currently not reflected in the traditional Mass Media (read: The Star and NST). If I missed it somehow, please let me know. Full article quoted at the bottom under the cut, but I’d like to know one simple thing:

How in the world did the Perak overzealous, no, fanatical religious authorities determine the deceased was a Muslim convert when there was NO EVIDENCE of it?

Full news under the cut!

Family loses battle in ‘bodysnatching’ dispute

A Hindu family today lost a court battle with Islamic authorities over the rights to the body of their relative who a religious syariah court declared to be Muslim.

In the nation’s latest dispute over Islamic conversion, the family of Elangesvaran Benedict, who committed suicide last month, said he remained a Hindu and should be buried according to the rites of the religion.

The Penang High Court however dismissed an application for an injunction pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal made by a mee seller to stop the Islamic authorities from claiming the body his stepbrother.

Judge Balia Yusof Wali did not grant the stay to S Selvam (left), 48, to stop the council from collecting Elangesvaran’s body from Parit Buntar Hospital because “the High Court has no jurisdiction to decide over an earlier Syariah Court ruling.”

With the decision, Balia upholds his own decision made on similar grounds last Friday when dismissing an interim injunction application filed by Selvam on June 25 to claim his step-brother’s body.

The decision was delivered in chambers after Balia heard deliberations for nearly two hours from Selvam’s counsels, Karpal Singh and RS Nethaji Rayer, and arguments from lawyers Asmuni Awi, Yusnita Yusuf and Mohd Ghazali Mohd Taib representing the Perak Islamic Religious Affairs Department, Penang Islamic Religious Department and Parit Buntar Hospital director.

A visibly disappointed Karpal will however go ahead with an appeal to the higher court to seek a landmark decision “to once for all end controversies arising from cases of this nature.”

He believed the grounds for Balia’s decision could be challenged since Syariah Court’s jurisdiction covers only Muslims and it could only make rulings on Islamic apostasy, “not when it involves a person’s religious identity.”

“Only civil courts can rule on whether a person is a Muslim or not,” he told journalists outside the chambers.

Case pending but Syariah Court made decision

Last Friday, while Selvam’s application for interim injunction was pending for hearing at the Penang High Court, the Parit Buntar Syariah Court ruled that Elangesvaran was a Muslim, much dismay of his family members.

Because of this, Balia decided that the High Court cannot overrule the Syariah Court decision and dismissed Selvam’s application, though he granted a stay to file for another injunction pending a hearing to allow Selvam to file an appeal to the Court of Appeals.

However, this too was dismissed today paving the way for the Islamic authorities to bury the deceased as a Muslim.

Karpal said it was wrong for the Perak Islamic religious authority to file for a decision at the Syariah Court when the case was pending at the Penang High Court, thus putting “unwarranted and undesired” pressure on judge Balia.

“It was a direct interference by the Syariah Court into the judicial powers of the civil court.”

Balia’s decision raises a serious question on what will happen to the deceased body if the Court of Appeal decided to overturn Balia’s decision and allow Selvam to claim the body.

This was the question raised by Karpal, Selvam and leaders of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), who were at the court house to give moral support.

“If the Appeals Court overrules today’s decision, especially after the Islamic authorities had buried Elangesvaran’s body according to Islamic rites in a Muslim cemetery, the deceased family will undergo a traumatic experience of digging out his body then burying or cremating him according to Hindu rites.

“A stay would have avoided this unpleasant situation,” said Karpal.

Stepbrother: Elangesvaran was never a Muslim

According to his death certificate, Elangesvaran committed suicide at 3.40am on June 22, 2008 by hanging himself on a tree outside his house in Bagan Serai.

He leaves behind a wife and two children, age six and three.

Perak religious authorities claimed that the deceased was a Muslim convert though it failed to produce any documents as evidence to prove its claims that Elangesvaran had legally and rightfully embrace Islam.

Selvam claimed that Elangesvaran was never a Muslim and had always been a practicing Hindu.

“My stepbrother has special affection towards Lord Ganesha (the Elephant God),” he told Malaysiakini at the court house.

Balia’s decision is set to spark another round of controversy over ‘body-snatching’ in the country.

The case is the latest in a series of allegations of ‘body-snatching’ by Islamic authorities, who have seized remains against the objections of non-Muslim family members.

In the wake of the controversy, the government has proposed new rules on converting to Islam to prevent the wrangles that have split families and incited racial tensions in the country.

Describing the decision as shocking, Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran (left) suggested that “Syariah Court seems more powerful and prevailing over civil courts when the federal constitution says otherwise. This is injustice to Elangesvaran family and the Hindu community at large.

“I urge the Appeals Court to make an ultimate and fair decision to put to rest this persisting controversy,” he said.

Hindraf Perak coordinator A Vethamurthy said the decision today implied that “it was waste of energy, time and resources for non-Muslims to seek justice through the civil courts.”

3 Responses

  1. JeyS July 8, 2008 / 3:15 PM

    Again another one of this.

    Wonder what they benefiit when they get the body back as muslim? I am a convert from Hindu to Christian and made known to all and sundry. If lets say Mr X is a muslim convert don’t you think he would have told someone or his family.

    Funny la how this things keep our Syariah court people busy..there’s more better things to do! That man is dead!!! Leave him along with his family to mourn and you people go and body-snatch, have you no empathy at all!!!!!!!!!

  2. msiajoe July 9, 2008 / 6:08 PM

    I have many muslim friends. For them, all religious rituals and practices (clothes that they wear, the way they conduct ‘kenduri’, etc.) are more important than all other things, be them human rights, respect for others, etc.

    And also, for them, muslims’ interest always comes first, regardless of what others feel or think because, according to them, their religion is always right, others should just observe and accept it. That’s why they generally support muslims movement around the world, whatever background that movement is.

    They usually won’t compromise because, again, they are always right and others should always listen to them. That’s why whenever there is a cross-civilization or cross-culture dialogue involving muslims, they only ask others to listen to them first and they seldom, if ever, care about views of others.

  3. Crankshaft July 11, 2008 / 2:41 PM

    It’s easy to bully an Indian, because no one stands up and fights. And so the body-snatching continues.

Comments are closed.