Crematorium For Non-Muslims

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Consultative council is willing to work with the authorities. However, they should not drag their feet and remain indifferent…Scarcity of burial grounds

Mr. Thiagarajan
A crematorium may not be appealing to the squeamish but for those who have been clamouring for one, it is definitely a necessity. The scarcity of burial grounds in the city is a cause for concern for Ipoh’s non-Muslim communities, and the question of a crematorium becomes more urgent with each passing day especially in view of the expansion of the city and the accompanying population increase.

One organisation that is in the forefront of the drive for a crematorium is the Perak chapter of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism. Its chairman, V.M. Thiagarajan, unravels the problem facing the non-Muslim communities in Ipoh. “The council was given the responsibility to coordinate and supervise the construction of the crematorium in 2004”, he said. “But nothing substantive has materialised from our many discussions with the authorities.” He blamed it on several factors. “Indecision and procrastination are the two major flaws.”

Lip Service
Since being appointed chairman on May 15, Thiagarajan has held meetings with his committee to work out a suitable engagement strategy. “We want the authorities’ commitment, not mere lip service,” he remarked, tired of being given the run-around.

The matter was raised with Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Executive Councillor for Local Government, Health and Environment, whom Thiagarajan and his committee met on July 16. At a follow-up meeting with Dato’ Abu Bakar Hj Said, Director of the State Economic Planning Unit, on July 20, they were told to identify possible sites for the project. Three locations were recommended to Dato’ Abu Bakar. Having made its choices known, the council hopes the state government will respond.

Papan Site
The 15-acre site near Papan, apportioned by the state government for the said purpose, was unsuitable as it lies smack in a dumping ground. “Clinical and household wastes are being disposed there”, Thiagarajan lamented. “Moreover, it’s quite a distance away from Ipoh.”

The council is willing to work with the authorities in ensuring that this long-standing problem is resolved amicably. “We too hope that the cost of construction and maintenance will be borne by the state government, as funds amounting to RM1.5 million had been allotted previously”, said Thiagarajan. The proposed crematorium should incorporate the latest in cremating technology so as to ensure a clean environment.

The needs of the non-Muslim communities should be addressed as it affects a major portion of the city’s inhabitants. The number of non-Muslims in Ipoh caps at almost 500,000 or 75 per cent of its population. The authorities should not drag their feet and remain indifferent.

Fathol Zaman Bukhari

5 thoughts on “Crematorium For Non-Muslims

  1. State government can always appoint NGO to operate the crematorium. There is a similar case in Melaka where the Local council appointed the Hindu Sangam Association to operate their crematorium at Bukit Jelutong.

    There are good remarks from operator and non-muslim families that visited that place.

  2. The article made it seemed like there are no crematoriums in Ipoh. A government-funded crematorium may be a good idea especially if the cost of cremations can be lowered. The question is who will run the crematorium. Would MCCBCHST undertake the responsibility?

  3. The crematorium in Bercham is a private entity. What Rajan is asking for is a state-run crematorium built with public funding. RM1.5 million had been allocated for the purpose during Tajol’s tenure in office. The fund is no longer in the books. Rajan wants the state government’s commitment not lip service.

  4. There is at least one crematorium located not far after Bercham on the way to Tg Rambutan. Sam Poh Tong also perform cremations.

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