The Cabinet meeting tomorrow must resolve that 74-year-old Gan Eng Gor will be the last “body-snatching” case in Malaysia as it is a standing rebuttal of Malaysia’s boast as a world example of inter-racial co-operation and harmony.
The Cabinet should also decide that the police should not be involved in any “body-snatching” case as public confidence in the police will be adversely affected, on top of the divisive effects of such “body-snatching” incidents on Malaysian nation-building.
The Cabinet decision tomorrow is all the more imperative as the Gor family has lost all avenues of redress in the civil courts, as their application to the Seremban High Court for a declaration that Gor was not a Muslim was dismissed this morning in chambers on the ground that the High Court has no jurisdiction in the matter, as it belonged to the Syariah Court.
This is sad day for Malaysian nation-building and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s oft-repeated boasts in international conferences of Malaysia as a model of inter-faith co-operation.
I am sure that the founding fathers of this nation, when agreeing to the Merdeka social contract in 1957, would never have imagined that 50 years after nationhood, Malaysia would have regressed to the extent that “body-snatching” has become a nightmare to bedevil inter-racial and inter-religious relations.
I have no doubt that Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Sambanthan would have found it completely unthinkable that the nation could be plagued by a problem like “body-snatching” – with the police aiding and abetting the “body-snatchers”.
Enough is enough, and I call on the Cabinet tomorrow to send out a clear and unmistakable message that “body-snatching” is completely detrimental to the process of nation-building in multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia and the worst possible advertisement of the nation as “Truly Asia” and a model of inter-faith understanding. The police must be directed that they should never be a party to such disgraceful “body-snatchings” in the country.
In the Gan Eng Gor case, the 74-year-old man was buried as a Muslim last week after his Buddhist family lost a battle with Islamic authorities who said he had converted.
Police seized the body of Gan Eng For, who died a week ago, after his oldest son – himself a Muslim convert – said he had switched to the religion last year.
Other family members said Gan could not have converted because he was senile and paralysed after suffering two strokes.
Gan’s wife and seven other children challenged the claim that the bedridden Gan had made an oral declaration in Arabic to accept Islam, as the family has medical confirmation that the elder Gan was unable to speak after a stroke in 2006. They said the alleged conversion papers were also flawed because they weren’t signed and certified.
All the necessary documentation to rebut the claim that the elder Gan had embraced Islam last year had been put up on the Internet and I urge Ministers particularly from the MCA, Gerakan and MIC to present them in Cabinet for a detailed discussion and a just decision tomorrow.
The Gan family had gone to the MCA for help but the case had been disposed off in a most unsatisfactory and unacceptable manner. It is now up to the four Ministers in the Cabinet to redeem the failure of the MCA to resolve the issue satisfactorily and, together with other fair-minded Ministers, restore justice and fair play to the aggrieved Gan family in Seremban.