GEORGE TOWN, June 11:
The state religious department has acted in a rash manner and has in the process disregarded the feelings of the family of Teoh Cheng Cheng.
Teoh died on Saturday and department’s men had claimed her body in the middle of the wake before the funeral on Monday.
State Religious Affairs Exco Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim admitted that the way the JAIPP officers handled the matter was very poor and insensitive to the feelings of the deceased’s family.
He was referring to the incident on Monday after a team of JAIPP officers had gone over to the wake of a Chinese woman who had allegedly converted to Islam 18 years ago, but her religious status was not known to her family.
Since then, there has been a dispute over whether her body should be buried or cremated, according to the Buddhist way or Muslim rites as her religious status is still in question and will be determined by the Syariah court.
Abdul Malik said he was away in Kuala Lumpur during the incident and had no knowledge of what had transpired and had only learnt about it from a reporter who contacted him on Monday.
“I am upset that nobody from JAIPP had informed me and neither had I been consulted.
“The whole matter shouldn’t have happened and they could have resolved it in a more sensitive manner as there had been similar cases which we had handled professionally and amicably.”
He gave an assurance that no recurrence of such incidents would ever take place and the officer in charge of handling the matter had apologised.
He said the state exco members respected and accepted the Teoh family’s decision in bringing the matter to court and to let the court decide on the deceased’s religious status.
Describing the incident as tricky and difficult, Abdul Malik admitted that JAIPP officers had acted hurriedly due to time constraints.
“However they should have consulted JAIPP’s director and enforcement department and the state mufti before they acted.
Abdul Malik also expressed disappointment over the poor handling of the issue and issued an apology to the family.