A fisherman was charged with murdering a woman at a Magistrates Court in Penang on Friday (April 5).
Ali Ahmad, 55, from Bukit Dumbar, said he understood the charge when it was read out to him by the court interpreter.
No plea was recorded.
Ali, who appeared in a denim shirt and pants, was charged with murdering Surinder Kaur Bedi between 10pm and 10.45pm, along Jalan Persiaran Bayan Indah, Bayan Lepas on March 30.
Ali is charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, which carries the mandatory death sentence.
DPP Mohammad Syafiq Nasrullah said he had yet to receive the post-mortem and chemist reports.
He also told the court that bail could not be offered for a murder charge.
Magistrate L Umma Devi set May 9 for case management, pending the post-mortem and chemist reports.
Umma asked Ali, who appeared frail, if he had any health problems. He replied that he is diabetic.
Reportedly, the accused, who has seven prior records of drug charges, hit the victim on her head multiple times with a helmet.
The victim, who was from Jelutong, was certified dead at the Penang Hospital at 5am on April 1.
The 37-year-old kitchen assistant succumbed to severe brain injuries resulting from blunt force trauma.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang said initial investigations found that the suspect and the victim knew each other for 15 years. The suspect claimed they were involved in a relationship for the past five months.
ACP Che Zaimani said the suspect took the victim for a ride on his motorcycle (on March 30), and both of them went for a walk in Bayan Lepas.
“They both drank whiskey and the victim got drunk.
“She accused the suspect of seeing other women, and they quarrelled, which resulted in the suspect hitting the victim on the head with his helmet,” he said in a statement.
The suspect admitted to assaulting the victim over an argument.
It was reported that the victim’s family, however, denied Surinder was dating the suspect.
According to her mother, Ali was like a godson who did odd jobs and renovated their home.
Hamidah Begum, Surinder’s childhood friend, also alleged that it was not true the victim was dating the suspect.
The 45-year-old housewife added that Surinder was missing for two days before she died, and it was suspected that Ali had been extorting the victim for money.
Surinder’s conversion to Islam was questioned after she was buried in accordance with Muslim rites at the Jelutong Muslim Cemetery on April 1.
Following this, Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia Penang branch advisor Harjinder Singh asked for proof of Surinder’s conversion.
He said if there was no proof, the association would ask for her body to be exhumed and that she be laid to rest in accordance with Sikh funeral rites.
Surinder’s mother warned outsiders to leave her late daughter’s body alone in the Muslim cemetery.
“No matter what happens, I will not allow any parties to interfere and try to exhume my daughter’s body,” the upset 69-year-old said.
She alleged Surinder had already converted to Islam last year but did not officially register her conversion.
Nazirah Bibi @ Kuldip Kaur said even if there was no official documentation to prove that her youngest child had converted to Islam, outsiders have no right to interfere in Surinder’s funeral rites.
“I am her mother, I am still alive, I will not allow anyone else to take her body. Our whole family had converted to Islam for many years and our God is Allah so don’t touch her body, let her rest in peace,” she said.
“I can’t let anyone take my daughter’s body out from her grave. It’s wrong to do this. I am her mother, I know she’s a Muslim,” she added.
Nazirah said the whole family, including Surinder, has always practised the Muslim way of life.
“My daughter had recited the kalimah syahadah twice many times in front of me, my son and other family members,” she added.
(L-R) Surinder’s brother Imran Khan @ Balbir Singh, mother Nazirah, friend Hamidah Begum.
Surinder is survived by her three siblings Imran Khan @ Balbir Singh, 47, Mohamad Ilham @ Majinder Singh, 41 and Nor Sakinah @ Palvinder Kaur, 40.
Nazirah also pointed out that Surinder lived with her so she would know what religion her deceased daughter had practised.
She said her daughter was a filial daughter who had supported her and the family.
“I have poor health so she would often buy medicine for me and she was also close to her late father and third brother,” she said.
She said Surinder told her that she wanted to be buried in accordance with Muslim rites instead of Sikh funeral rites.
“She had told me before that she wanted to be buried next to her late father and brother,” she said.
Nazirah said she had informed the Penang Mufti Department, the Penang Islamic Department and the police of this fact.