Friday, August 15, 2008

Excavating Graveyards – Pure Greed!

The deads deserve respect and when loved ones dies, all good things and love should be shown by us in memory of him. Of course, the best thing to give him is to find the best resting place that one could afford. We should make his resting place beautiful and a place that could be remembered by his generations. The Bukit Cina Cemetery was a good example where the resting place of the deads of the early Chinese settlers who came from China to Malaya was well taken care of by their generations. It was beautiful and historic place in Melaka on a hill top, but, at one time in 1980s when I was still a serving officer in Negeri Sembilan, there were people for their greed, wanted to take the cemetery land in the name of development! I went all out to help DAP get signatures of people to oppose it! People from all walks of life and all races were against such move to destroy Bukit Cina and we succeed to prevent this!

So, why want the graves and cemeteries if not for greed? Now, it became a profession for some people stealing from the graves. They dug graves in the hope that some valuables could be found. It was also common to find out that the tombs of the deads in dayak cemeteries were also dug and vandalized. Some years ago in Engkilili, a developer also went on to destroy some Chinese graves for a housing project. The graves had been there since the Rajah times and I had to intervene to stop this.

Now, these greedy people go after the muslim cemetery in Kuching. A cemetery which is more than 100 years old at Jalan Keretapi (now, Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Addruce) near to my house was excavated on Tuesday 12 August, 2008 and 44 graves had been dug out by the contractor without the consent and knowledge of the descendants of the deads. Myself and MP for Bandar Kuching, Sdr. Chong Chieng Jen, and some PKR members including YB Dominique Ng were at the cemetery to control the situation from getting worse. I had to rush back from Court after finishing my court cases that morning. When I arrived, I saw an excavator near to the cemetery was on fire. BOMBA and the police had a busy day, but, damage had already been done. The muslim people were truly not happy about this matter and the authorities should be held responsible for the damge. I hope the decendants will file civil suits in court soon and if no counsels willing to act for them, I am willing to offer my services to see justice done. I don't care who they are and how powerful they are. Let the matter goes to court and get the whole world to know!

From what I could gather, it was learnt that the graves have to be exhumed to give way for the construction of some high rise buildings on a joint venture basis. This is profits over the bodies of the deads! When these greedy people die one, day how their souls would feel if some one dug their grave! They definitely will send their spirits to haunt their grave diggers! I hope their generations will not find any pain and be sentimental about that!

Do not do what you do not want others do unto you! This is the most important commandment of the Lord if we want harmony and peace in this society!

To the greedy people and the authorities, I have a word of reminder. That is, learn from history. Such exhumation or excavation of the graves and cemeteries could spark riots and civil unrests as what had happened in Java during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia, where a railway line which was built over a muslim cemetery in Java, led to a bitter rebellion against the Dutch rule in Java.

BN government should be cautious of such incidents, but, so far the BN government seemed still sleeping without very little effort done to see a stop to this thing. The dayaks had voiced their unhappiness over the years of their ancestors’ graves being dug and vandalized, but, there had been very little success in arresting the culprits. At the same time, not much effective measures had been taken to ensure that the many cemeteries that the dayaks had were properly regulated as many could be said found of state land. At the same time, some leases of Chinese cemeteries are about to expire soon. What we need is a grant in perpetuity to preserve the souls of the deads.


Anonymous said...

I was there. As a malay, I am Sad & Furious. No words can describe it. But as a muslim, i cannot let anger get the best of me. I believe my muslim brothers are just overwhelm by frustration that things got out of hand. My apologies to those who have to see these sad incident. But i call all parties to use the proper channel & we seek your help in the matter, Mr Voon Lee Shan.


Graves are resting places of love ones who died. We want them to rest in peace and the graves were the places where we can show our respect to the deads and where we could find many fond memories of the loved ones whom we rested there. It was also the place where we found "communication" between the living and the dead possible. This we did when we visited our loved ones buried there, by clearing their resting places and by lighting candles and offering bouquets or flowers when we visited them. These were their homes. We wanted their souls to have perpetual peace and a pertual place to rest. That was why in christian graves (I refer to christian graves because I am a christian, but I mean no offence, please) we can see signs "RIP" which means, "Rest in Peace". This is because we just hope God can take care of theri souls to rest in peace. I think this applies to graves of all people irrespective of their beliefs. All of us irrespective of our religion, I think, want the souls of our loved ones who died, to rest in peace.

Therefore, I can understand the pain a muslim should feel when he finds that the grave of his loved ones had been dug to and the remains of their loved ones be scattered around etc. It is something that could not and should not be compensated with money. There was no reason to destroy the graves. The government must preserve the graves and it is a crime to destroy these graves. I hope the authorities should not let greed to get into people's head and that those responsible be prosecuted.