KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Muslim intellectual Kassim Ahmad, 84, is now in coma in the Kulim hospital, his son confirmed.
Kassim’s son Ahmad Shauqi said his father had been in the hospital since September 16 for treatment to a lung infection and a blocked heart valve, but was still doing fine last night at around 10pm.
According to Ahmad Shauqi, his father last night said he had difficulty breathing and an oxygen mask was put on him, while a patient in the next bed said the octogenarian had sought for assistance from the nurses at around 1am to 2am.
“About 5am in the morning, my sister who is staying in Kulim called me up — I’m staying in Penang — saying my father is in a critical condition, so I rushed from Penang to the hospital, he was already in a coma,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
The family, including Ahmad Shauqi, has been visiting Kassim daily during hospital hours.
“I put the blame totally on all the religious authorities and I’m going to make sure the lawyer who defended my father sue them — giving him all [this] trauma. He’s a learned man and he’s not a violent man. He’s a very calm person, but sad what society has done for him,” he added.
He said the family was praying hard for Kassim.
“But we are still not ready to let him go, he has so much to offer. He sacrificed his life for the people,” he said.
Just two months ago, wheelchair-bound Kassim was finally freed from three 2014 Shariah charges of allegedly insulting Islam and defying religious authorities, which were each punishable with a maximum RM3,000 fine or maximum two-year jail, or both.
After the Court of Appeal’s December 2015 and the Federal Court’s March 2016 rulings which found the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department’s (Jawi) prosecution to be invalid and illegal, the Shariah prosecutors had finally on August 7, on the instructions of the Shariah court, dropped charges against Kassim.
Kassim had in August expressed relief and gratitude to God over the Shariah court’s acquittal and said he had been vindicated.
His son had then told Malay Mail Online that he was thankful that the whole ordeal stretching over three years was over, noting that his father previously had to just endure the frequent four to five hours’ car trips from Kedah’s Kulim to Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya to attend court cases.
Last February, Kassim had spoken of the difficulties he faced as an 82-year-old then in making the regular trips from Kedah to the courts here, while his lawyer Rosli Dahlan had also then said the bail imposed meant that both Kassim and his three bailors have had to come for every single Shariah court proceeding.