Uthayakumar says the hospital’s excuse is absurd and insulting
In a letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, copies of which were sent to the press, Hindraf described the hospital’s defence of the ban as “absurd” and “insulting”.
It also demanded the restoration of non-Muslim funeral halls at all government hospitals and free ambulance services for the dead.
This would be in line with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and the 1Malaysia slogan, said the letter, signed by the movement’s de facto leader, P Uthayakumar.
Article 8 guarantees equality before the law for all persons regardless of race or creed.
“We regret to note that the University Malaya Hospital has unlawfully closed down it’s funeral hall for non-Muslims … for the absurd reason that it is because of the inconveniences caused by the undertakers,” Uthayakumar said.
“This is insulting as this very same teaching hospital ‘experiments’ on the poor and their dead bodies.
“We also recall handling the 2003 highly decomposed body of death-in-police-custody victim Francis Udayapan, which was kept at UMMC hospital mortuary for almost 1½ years.”
Yesterday, UMMC Deputy Director Dr Mustafa Mohd Ali, responding to a FMT report on Wednesday, said undertakers were partly to blame for the ban. He said they would harass grieving families at the hospital as they competed to sell their services.
Dr Mustafa admitted that the ban did not apply to Muslims, but said this was a temporary arrangement that would cease with the completion of University Malaya’s Islamic Centre, which is under construction.
Complaining about the discontinuation of free ambulance services for poor non-Muslims, Uthayakumar said: “But for the Malay Muslims a special hearse service is rightly provided free of charge by the fully government funded Islamic authorities right up to the cemetery.
“Why does there have to be so much racism and supremacy even in death?”
He said the “real reason” behind the trend was an increase in Islamisation.