KUCHING, Jan 16, 2016:
The family members of Bernard Then Ted Fen, the Sarawakian engineer who was abducted in Sabah and killed in Jolo Island, are very satisfied with the cooperation shown by the state and federal governments, the Malaysian embassy in the Philippines, as well as the Philippine government, said Sarawak Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
Fatimah, on behalf of the family members, today conveyed their gratitude to all.
She said the Philippine government, including a church, had handled everything, right from the search for the late Bernard Then, and then conducted the verification, identification and the documentation of his remains to be claimed by family members.
She also conveyed similar gratitude to the Foreign Ministry (Wisma Putra) and the Sarawak government which had rendered great assistance as well.
“The funeral mass for the victim was carried out twice; first when the body reached Manila, and the next day by a priest from Zamboanga, where Bernard was killed,” she told reporters when met after accompanying Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to officiate the 1Azam Carnival here today.
Bernard Then was abducted from a seafood restaurant in Sandakan, Sabah, on May 14, 2015, along with the restaurant manager Thein Nyuk Fun, 50, by armed men believed to be linked to a militant group from southern Philippines.
Nyuk Fun was freed by the captors on Nov 8 while Then, 39, was beheaded at a remote location on Jolo Island in southern Philippines on Nov 11.
Fatimah, who left for Manila two days ago, along with Adenan’s special officer Wan Khalik Wan Mohamad and Bernard’s parents, to attend the cremation, arrived back in Kuching this morning.
She said on the whole, the late Bernard Then had been given the utmost respect and dignity by all concerned.
Fatimah said Bernard Then’s remains were flown out from Manila at 3pm today, and there would be another mass in Kuala Lumpur before the urn containing his ashes was interred at a church in Shah Alam.
She also said Adenan’s wife, Puan Sri Jamilah Anu, had also given a personal donation to the family, who in turn decided to donate the amount to charity in the Philippines.