KUALA LUMPUR: The family of 71-year-old van driver A. Rayappan will be filing an application in the High Court here on Monday for a declaration that he is a Christian, but the Selangor religious authorities have obtained an order from the Syariah High Court yesterday to claim the body.
“The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has obtained the Syariah Court order for the body to be released to it immediately from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH), but I have faxed a letter requesting the hospital not to do so until a decision is made by the civil court,” said lawyer A. Sivanesan, who is representing the family.
“KLH as a government body need not comply with the Syariah Court order, as in this case there is dispute of religion.”
He added that if KLH did not want to take his advice, it could refer to the AG's Chambers.
The lawyer said just like in the case of Mount Everest climber Sjn M. Moorthy alias Muhammad Abdullah, whose body was kept in the hospital until the civil court made a decision, Rayappan’s body also should not be released yet.
He said he would file for a declaration on behalf of the family that Rayappan died a Christian.
He told a press conference that the family were in possession of documents that showed Rayappan was a Christian.
He said the National Registration Department (NRD) issued him with a MyKad in 2003 in his original name which stated his religion as Christian.
Rayappan died of complications from diabetes at KLH on Wednesday.
It was reported on Wednesday that Rayappan's family challenged Jais for custody of his body, claiming that he was no longer a Muslim.
The family acknowledged that he had been a Muslim before but claimed he had returned to Christianity seven years ago.
When the family wanted to claim his body from the KLH mortuary on Thursday, Jais officers, who claimed that Rayappan was still a Muslim, stopped them.
A Shah Alam Syariah High Court granted Mais’ application to claim Rayappan’s body yesterday but required the council to get the endorsement of the Federal Territory Syariah High Court for it to be enforced.
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