Widow facing eviction dies after deadline expires


manimathuWhen I first met her last week, she reminded me of my dear late grandmother. She did not say much but wore a worried frown on her face (see photo).

Tonight, I received news that she had passed away just after 8.00pm on the way to the hospital, after complaining of pain in her back and hand. She had not been feeling well for some time.

Widow Santhosa Mary @ Manimathu, 74, lived among the tenant-villagers at the St Francis Xavier’s Church along Penang Road. They had been given a 31 May deadline to sign an agreement to vacate their homes. The Church, through its lawyers, wanted the villagers to accept RM10,000 in compensation and leave by 31 May 2010. If they failed to accept these terms, they had to leave by yesterday, Pentecost Sunday.

As the deadline to accept the terms approached, Manimathu grew anxious, according to one of the villagers.

“What will happen to us after that?” she was heard telling several villagers. “Which house can I go to?”

In the midst of this controversy between the church and the villagers, it looks as if God has now intervened.

Manimathu was the wife of the late Mr Selva, a foreman at the now defunct Straits Echo. She had lived in the village since 1949.

See also: ‘Penang Church not selling land to hotel’ in The Star today.

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Your comments make an utter mockery of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.


Everyone knows the church is rich. RM10,000 will get you nowhere in finding a new home. Especially since they are all retired. How heartless can the Church get. They should be practising what they preach – all that stuff about loving your neighbour and charity. What hypocrites.


anne brella perhaps you should go investigate yourself and if your investigation does not serve you, go and take the church to court. I was laughing reading your post with all the questions. Just to inform you, the church existed in Tanah Melayu for the past almost 500 years solidly so perhaps your questions have been answered already. And also the church run on donations even Vatican. I am still laughing haha


Dear writer,
Its wrong to blame the bishop as you know if every Roman catholic wants to occupy the church land then the church will have no land . even the western road cemetery is full. I don’t think what the writer knows what is going on there in the Francis Xavier church land.so let the Bishop decide what is right.
its better others keep off the church business no outsider intervention.

order miltia templi.



I was under the impression that only the BN Government rob the poor rakyat of their bare necessities.

Now the Church authorities mainly the head of the Catholic Church in Penang has jumped into the bandwagon to torment and thumb down the poor.

O GOD! Have Mercy!

Don’t the saying “Charity Begins at Home” hold any water at all even in the Catholic Church?

I think it is time for the Head – the Bishop to retire…


The church, (and some of) the clergy and Bishops are the same as the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in the Gospels:

Mark 12:40

“They take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers. Their punishment will be all the worse!”.


Dear reader, 1.One more person also very sick at the village now.Very Soon will expired.So the next blame goes to bishop too.Pls beware the person face alot of suffering from the family memmbers… 2. The families are staying generation by generation.They have thier own properties.No one there are poor peeple.All of them have thier own houses.All the houses are rented to outsider.The reason why they do want to leave the place because the place is very convinient and also very cheap renting. 3. The church did so much for them but they are very ungrateful pepole.Only god can judge them.For… Read more »


Annon, it’s not a case of the Church against the families. It’s certain personalities within it, rather than the Church per se. With Anil’s kind indulgence, I’ll reproduce a posting I made elsewhere in this site some days ago, which amply illustrates what I mean. This is from the 19.04.09 church bulletin, from The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pulau Tikus, Penang. Read between the lines for a bigger picture. “Very often we priests hear of things happening in the Church, only after the fact, i.e. when your Bishop decided to sell part of the land in the compound of… Read more »


Before blame on each other .try to find out what is happening behind the scene.”Don’t judge the book by cover”.dont look from one side only.is that all resident don’t have house ???…each of the family have a own house and rented.if this fact not true ask them to proof but its their personal things.but my question is why they wanna to find out the sympathy?.if really they are poor 100% I will support them.they are pretend like don’t have anything .i was survey on this problem since last year.lets come to one of them not able to pay rental for… Read more »


Tks ‘rakyat’ for that info. Please do furnish us with more info if you have any.

anna brella

I have some questions which I hope someone will be able to answer here. 1. Is the Catholic Church of Malaysia a registered charitable organisation i.e. a legal entity in the form of a charitable trust in Malaysia? 2. Is a set of consolidated annual accounts for the Malaysian Catholic Church produced, audited and published to all its members at its annual AGM and a copy also lodged with the Malaysian Registrar of Societies for public access/scrutiny? 3. Is the Malaysian Catholic Church required by its legal charter/articles to use its operating surpluses only, or mainly, for the benefit of… Read more »


I believed that mental anxiety contributed to this old lady death. All of affected people are catholic belong to the same church, so why can’t bishop reserve their home until they expired? The bishop should put him in their shoes and think about the difficulity of people.Practise what you preach first….


I feel sad to hear about the death of this dear old lady. May her soul rest in peace. And allow me to address the Bishop of Penang. My dear Bishop, You are quoted in the Herald as well as in the MSM as denying that the church land will be sold(“That is absolute nonsense” you say) and that it has been “ear-marked for religious, charitable and cultural purposes”. I fail to see the logic in your statement. I wish to pose a few questions for you to reflect on: Is it charitable to make these unfortunate people who had… Read more »

Michael James

Some time ago there was some active discussion on the responsibility of the archdiocese to be more transparent with regard their accounts. Churches are required to display their accounts on the Notice Board but this does not apply of the archdiocese. The Archbishop’s office insisted that there was no necessity for its accounts to be revealed to the public. Some clause in “CANON LAW” was quoted to defend this position. Its time for the Catholic Community to debate this issue so that this sad state of events can be corrected. We WANT and NEED to know WHERE IS ALL THE… Read more »


Dear Lilian…

for ur information she no need to go paya terubong.She (is believed to have) her own house at sg.pinang and she rented for sumbody…another thing sg.pinang is not tat far..its within the georgetown…


My condolences to the family of the late widow. May her soul rest in peace. But, Anil, you are stoking the fire needlessly. I respect your opinion on the issue and I am 100% behind you. I commented in an earlier post that I feel the Church, your Church, is not handling the issue well. It just seems to me the Church is simply fed-up with the settlers and want them to go so that it can take it’s own sweet time to do want it wants to do with the land. But, please, the anxiety that she faced may… Read more »

Andrew I

Ganesh, the Vatican IS the richest institution in the world. It’s always made out to us that the church is always poor, a bottomless pit that no amount of donations will ever fill. Some churches even advocate the 30% of your income donation, and surely God will reserve a place for you in heaven. It gets even better when different interpretations are given to Christ’s words. For example, the poor will always be with you but I will not. Conclusion: never mind about the poor, just concentrate on worshipping Me. Another: no where in the bible does it say it… Read more »


“Well the church officials will have to live with this for the rest of their lives and answer to GOD as to why they contributed to the anxiety of this old sweet lady (just before) her death.” DON’T BE SILLY!It’s her time to go. THe CHurch official or Bishop has nothing to do with her death. ANil, what is the point of you putting this up? To draw more criticism to the Church? Let say tomorrow, one of the residents met with an accident and died, are everybody going to blame the Bishop/Church?PLease be rational and logical.Don’t blame the Church… Read more »


To tell the truth, houses of worship are among the richest institutions in the world. They stores up wealth (dunno for what purpose) … only to see that at the end..someone is dead…not because of anything but b’coz they have no wealth of money.


RIP, madam !


If one sees the movie Angels and Demons, one would realise that the Vatican has billions stored up. I have been to the Vatican, and I can verify this. The Vatican is not just rich, but super rich. They have berpuluh billion pounds (sterling) in wealth. You ask me, they are probably the richest organisation in the world, beating any country’s GDP. Each painting they have is worth millions of pounds and mind you, they have tons of paintings. So, why the Catholic Church in Malaysia did not ask from the Vatican some help?? Ask lah couple of hundred thousand… Read more »


Sad, real sad! How else can the poor, helpless, old people react?


The Bishop talks about charitable good Right in front of his porch he forgets About the people who stayed on church land Decades ago which I believe he should know them well Now one had gone away Regretably in her mind as she expired her life With anxiety of becoming homeless Manimathu has put a screw on the Bishop’s mind … Charity always begins at home In church as they have helped long ago These people Bishop must come down from his chair It is uncharitable to deal through lawyers Words and action It must flow with faith As I… Read more »


Rest In Peace, Madam Manimathu. You have a better place in Heaven than whatever your church can give you


Well the church officials will have to live with this for the rest of their lives and answer to GOD as to why they contributed to the anxiety of this old sweet lady (just before) her death.

May she now rest in peace.