JERTEH: The land on which a two-storey high teapot and a giant umbrella, all symbols of the Sky Kingdom sect, once stood majestically now resembled a wasteland.
This was the sight that greeted court officials who visited the commune in Kampung Batu 13 in Hulu Besut near here yesterday.
Syariah High Court Judge Mohamad Abdullah made the visit in relation to the ongoing trial of 47 sect followers charged with not adhering to a state fatwa declaring the sect’s teachings as deviant.
He also wanted to confirm the description of the structures in the commune given in the testimonies of 12 prosecution witnesses.
Among the 50-odd people present during the 30-minute visit were chief Syarie prosecutor Mustafar Hamzah, counsel Sa’adiah Din, witnesses, police personnel and officials from the state religious department.
Also present were Zaharah Awang, Ruzilan Mukhtar and Nik Kamariah Nik Pah, the second, third and fourth wives of sect leader Ariffin Mohamad, better known as Ayah Pin.
(His first wife Che Minah Remeli is on the run from the state religious department.)
A graveyard was left on the 2.04ha site; other concrete buildings were torn down on July 31 last year. However, the 30-odd wooden houses of the followers had been spared.
Mohamad spent about 10 minutes scrutinising the grave of a Mohamad Ya.
A plaque stated that Mohamad Ya was born on Aug 11, 1950, and died on Oct 3, 2003. “Your goodness, patience and struggle will always be an example to us,” it said.
On Tuesday, Kampung Batu 13 Village Development and Security committee chairman Che Jusoh Sulaiman, 48, told the court the committee disallowed Mohamad Ya from being buried at the nearby Muslim cemetery at Bukit Payung.
This, he said, was because Mohamad Ya, who was associated with the sect, had renounced Islam.