Malay woman buried as a Buddhist

Bernama, June 17, 2008

KANGAR, Perlis (Malaysia) -- A Malay woman who died in Kampung Guar Musang on June 12 was buried in the village according to Buddhist rites.

This followed the Perlis Religious Affairs Department’s decision that the woman, Selimah Mat, 78, was no longer a Muslim at the time of her death although her identity card stated her religion as Islam.

Perlis Syariah High Court judge Zaini Abd Rahim confirmed yesterday that the woman did not profess the Islamic faith and could be buried according to Buddhist rites.

The younger sister of the deceased, Kiah @ Rokiah Mat, 75, claimed that when Selimah was 16, she was taken to Thailand by someone and returned eight years later with a three-year-old son.

Rokiah said her sister admitted to having married a Buddhist.

“I asked her to return to Islam but she remained non-committal,” she said.

Rokiah also claimed to have seen Selimah entering the Buddhist temple in the village to engage in religious activities like other Buddhists in the village.

She said she had also seen a photograph of her sister and her husband in a Buddhist initiation ceremony for the couple’s son, Aisok a/l Elan, when he was 20.

Last Thursday, Aisok sought permission from the Mata Ayer police station to bury his mother according to Buddhist rites.

Aisok said his mother had instructed him to bury and not cremate her upon her death.