The final push for the makeover of the century old Jalan Loke Yew crematorium in Kuala Lumpur is all set to take place.
The plans have been finalised and the necessary approvals are in place. Now, the team has to raise the RM2.5 million needed to build a modern crematorium.
Gazetted in 1921 – though thought to have started operations around 1890s – the crematorium serves the Sikh, Gujrati, Sindhi and other North Indian communities in the Klang Valley.
“We have overcome all the earlier hurdles, including the land ownership issue. Now, we are all set to move ahead. We call upon the communities to donate for this cause,” Shamshan Bhoomi Parbandak Society (Selangor & Federal Territory) president Pretam Singh told Asia Samachar.
The society manages the crematorium, the only crematorium run by Sikh and North Indian communities in Kuala Lumpur.
“We have a joint committee (via the society) to run the crematorium. Sindhis and Gujaratis are represented by Lakshmi Narayan Temple at Jalan Kasippilay, off Jalan Ipoh,” said Pritam.
“We are all working together,” said society vice president J R Sharma, who represents the temple.
The society has appointed the nation’s top Sikh cop, newly minted Federal Police Commercial Crime Director Commissioner Amar Singh, to head its Building Development Committee.
“Our tendering process will be transparent. Datuk Amar and his team will handle the tender and contract awarding process,” he said.
Things started moving at a faster pace for the team when the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur approved the building plans in January 2017. They must commence construction work by January 2018.
Work on the redevelopment of the dilapidating crematorium began in earnest in 2012. However, it hit an early snag when they were told that they did not own part of the land that was under its plan.
“We went to the National Achieve to dig up the old documents. We found the confirmation of the gazette. In 2014, we received an official letter from Land Office that the land is indeed ours, belonging to the society,” said Pretam when met recently.
The team then started the first phase of the redevelopment of the crematorium which consisted of landscaping and garden upgrade. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office had allocated RM500,000 for the purpose.
“Some RM300,000 were spent through DBKL. The balance was given to us,” he said. Among others, they had also constructed the road and built a security fencing.
The development order for the project was received in 2015 while the approval from the fire department came in the following year.
The second phase involves a two-storey main building which will have a waiting area and a prayer hall on the second floor.
“If needed, families can commence prayers in the hall. They can also hold prayers there,” he said.
The adjoining building will have quarters, a place to bathe the body and mortuary freezers. They will also have a place to keep urns temporarily for the Hindus.
“The quarters are for family members who may want to come and stay a day earlier. There is also a big hall upstairs for future use,” he said.
The new crematorium will be fitted with gas burners which will commence operations at a later date. The existing four wood burners will be maintained.
On its funding, society treasurer Kernial Singh said the society now has RM550,000 in its collection. Their dream: if 2,000 people would donate RM1,100 each, they will be able to raise RM2.2 million.
It was approaching 8pm. The society’s executive committee was just wrapping up its meeting held at the Sikh Centre at Gurdwara Sahib Sentul in Kuala Lumpur on a Sunday. They are all volunteers, having come forward to undertake some crucial tasks for the community.
These volunteers will be reaching out to fellow community members to raise the money needed to pay for the making of the new crematorium.
TO DONATE, CALL DATO PRETAM SINGH +6012-284 9402
MAYBANK CURRENT ACCOUNT NO: 5140 2062 4886
NAME: SHAMSHAN BHOOMI PERBANDAK SOCIETY BUILDING FUND
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 16030
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