Family of Chinese woman in race to stop Muslim-style burial


(Malay Mail Online) – The family of Teoh Cheng Cheng is now seeking legal loopholes to stop Penang’s religious authorities from burying the 38-year-old Chinese woman the Muslim way.

Teoh’s mother Tan Mah Suan and her sons met with state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo and state assemblyman Lau Keng Ee at Komtar this morning, hoping for legal advice on what they could do to stop the burial.

Speaking to reporters, Tan said the family is very unhappy with how the state’s religious affairs department (Jaipp) had taken Teoh’s body from the wake yesterday.

She pointed out that her daughter had died early on Saturday morning and they were permitted to take her body home for a Taoist funeral, which included the three-day wake.

Jaipp should have claimed Teoh’s body on Saturday instead of waiting for the final day of the wake, she said.

“We spent close to RM20,000 on the wake and funeral arrangements and we also bought a niche for her ashes to rest so it is really uncalled for them to come and take her away in such a manner and even to insult us by telling us the Muslim burial will cost us nothing,” she said.

Teoh, whose Muslim name was Nora Teoh Abdullah, had hung herself after a quarrel with her live-in boyfriend at their home in Macallum Street at about 3.30am on June 7.

Tan said Teoh left behind four children, three of them with the boyfriend who is a Muslim.

“Cheng Cheng never told us that she had converted and I’ve never seen her identity card that stated her as a Muslim as Jaipp had claimed,” she said, sobbing.

She said she has been taking care of all her grandchildren, whose religious statuses are now in question.

“They are innocent children, so if my daughter was a convert, what will happen to them now? Will they take away my grandchildren too?” she asked..

The family met with Jagdeep for about an hour before they left together with Lau.

“They came to me to seek legal advice but since I am not a practicing lawyer anymore, I referred them to a lawyer so they are now on the way to see the lawyer,” Jagdeep said.

Yesterday, a policeman interrupted Teoh’s funeral rites and told them that the funeral could not go on as she was a Muslim convert and must be buried the Muslim way.

They loaded her coffin into the Jaipp hearse and took her body to the Penang Hospital mortuary at about 4pm yesterday.

Due to the dispute, Cheng Cheng was not buried yet and her body is still in the mortuary.