The Sarawak government will send the late Bernard Then’s family on a state-sponsored trip to the Philippines to claim the kidnap victim’s body for cremation there and a burial here.’
According to local daily The Borneo Post, the Sarawak government will foot the bill for the trip for the late Sarawakian engineer’s five family members ― his parents, two siblings and wife.
The five will be joined by a state delegation formed under Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s instructions, with the group to comprise of Sarawak’s Welfare, Family and Women Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, the chief minister’s Special Administrative Officer Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad and policemen.
The Malaysian embassy staff in Manila is expected to meet Then’s family and the delegation accompanying them, while Then’s remains will be flown in to the capital city from Davao City this Thursday.
Fatimah said the cremation ceremony scheduled this Friday morning in the Philippines will be done according to the Catholic rites, with the delegation expected to return to Kuala Lumpur from Manila for the burial ceremony.
“The family has requested that the final rite be held in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday because the wife of the late Then is from Kuala Lumpur. The burial service will be held there,” said was quoted saying.
Then, 39, was kidnapped last May 14 together with Ocean King Seafood Restaurant manager Thien Nuk Fun at the same restaurant in Sandakan, Sabah.
Thien was released unharmed on November 8, but Then was reportedly beheaded that same month in the Philippines by his captors after ransom negotiations broke down.