Published on: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
It was initially said that the family had accepted that she would be given a Muslim burial when they consented to let the Penang Islamic Religious Department (Jaipp) take away her body yesterday.
However, the family now say they wanted her body back to proceed with a Taoist funeral for her and sought help from the state government.
Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lau Keng Ee said Cheng Cheng's mother Tan Mah Suan met with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Tuesday afternoon and he, together with several exco members, agreed to offer her legal assistance.
"The legal team helping Tan will comprise lawyers Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong MP), Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor MP) and S. Raveentharan (former Batu Uban assemblyman).
"They are preparing the legal documents to be filed at the Penang High Court today (Wednesday)," he said in a statement.
Lau said Tan insisted that Cheng Cheng was never a Muslim, but a Buddhist all this while.
He said Tan showed her daughter's MyKad and the birth certificates of Cheng Cheng's children as evidence.
Meanwhile, the deceased's cousin Teoh Chew Choo said it is also the wish of Cheng Cheng's boyfriend, who is a Muslim, that she be allowed a Taoist funeral. "It was his decision. We need to respect her boyfriend's decision too," he said.
It was reported that Cheng Cheng, who was also known by her Muslim name Nora Teoh Abdullah, converted 17 years ago.
She has four children, aged between 17 and 20. The eldest is a child born of her previous relationship with a Chinese man. The other three are with her Muslim boyfriend.
The family is concerned about the children's welfare and their religious status.
Cheng Cheng, a 38-year-old waitress, reportedly died last Saturday after she hanged herself at home in Lebuh Macallum following an argument with her live-in Muslim boyfriend at 3.30am.
Her funeral on Monday afternoon was stopped by Jaipp officers who arrived to claim the body.
After negotiations, the family gave Jaipp its consent to take Cheng Cheng's body away.
Penang religious exco Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim had said that the matter was resolved amicably, with the family of the deceased accepting that she was a Muslim.
He said he was not aware why the family had changed their minds.
"The body is still in the Penang mortuary. We cannot proceed with the burial.
"We will have to wait until the matter is resolved legally if it goes to court... we will try to resolve this quickly," he said.