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A prayer for… she-who-cannot-be-named

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on April 3, 2009

“It’s to commemorate her. Also to remind people that there are people murdered in Malaysia who have not received any justice,”

The Malaysian Insider

Debra Chong

TAIPING, April 3 — Taking advantage of Cheng Beng, the Chinese equivalent of All Souls’ Day, Perak PKR members carried out a remembrance ritual here yesterday to pray for the soul of the murdered Mongolian model whose name can no longer be mentioned in political ceramahs.

Chan Lih Kang and Tai Sing Ng, the two state lawmakers from Teja and Kuala Sepetang respectively, were seen by the roadside behind a Chinese restaurant, Hua Qiao, in Simpang near here late yesterday afternoon burning joss sticks and hell money for Altantuya Shaariibuu as part of a traditional offering to the deceased, usually one’s ancestors.

Chan told The Malaysian Insider the locals believed the offerings gave “comfort” to the dead but PKR’s ritual was clearly about highlighting Altantuya’s gruesome murder and the weaknesses in the entire justice system exposed through her death.

“It’s to commemorate her. Also to remind people that there are people murdered in Malaysia who have not received any justice,” Chan explained.

For the same reason, he said, PKR has not stopped and will continue raising the issue at its nightly ceramahs for the by-elections, in defiance of the Home Ministry’s recent ban on the subject.

“The Altantuya case is different from other cases because it was not investigated in a very transparent way. There are a lot of loopholes in her trial,” Chan added when asked why PKR was placing so much emphasis on the death of a foreigner when many locals were in the same situation.

Cheng Beng season provides lucrative trade for those who deal with funeral paraphernalia as many Chinese still observe the ritual.

Many modern Malaysian Chinese continue to pay their respects to their ancestors by burning papier mache reproductions of material goods, in hopes that their deceased relatives will be able to live in relative comfort in the thereafter until they are reborn.

For the past two weekends, many families have been flocking to their ancestral burial grounds here to spring clean the graves of their great-grandparents. Many more are expected to return this weekend, adding to the traffic congestion in this small town as campaigning for the Bukit Gantang by-election moves into the last leg before polling on Tuesday

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