“Milking the dead”: How COVID-19 funeral rites cost for Hindus have soared!

A VIDEO has been going viral on social media, where an unknown individual alleged that several unscrupulous funeral homes linked to public hospitals were hiking up prices to perform the final rites on Hindus who died out of COVID-19.

In the five-minute video, the individual claimed that several hospitals were demanding up to RM3,500 to cremate or bury Hindus who perished due to COVID-19.

“I have received complaints from families in Kajang and Seremban on this matter. It seems individuals linked to the hospitals are asking up to RM3,500 to conduct final rites.

“Is the sum going to the hospital? Or is it going to some middle-men or organisation?” he queried.

The man then urged the Government and Hindu non-governmental organisations (NGO) to address the matter as it was affecting the families of the deceased, particularly those from the B40 group.

Acknowledging that funerals were a costly affair, the man nevertheless argued that RM3,500 was too high, as many have lost their jobs or having reduced income during this tough economic climate.

“And I don’t understand why they need to charge this much as not much ritual is performed on the remains due to fear of COVID-19,” he opined.

When contacted later, Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk RS Mohan Shan confirmed the man’s claims, adding he has sent a letter to Health Ministry (MOH) director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to seek a comprehensive solution to the matter.

“My team has received complaints that some places are demanding up to RM5,000 to conduct last rites for Hindus who died due to COVID-19, which is troubling.

“So, I urge the Government to set a ceiling price at RM2,500 so that it would not burden an already aggrieved family,” he told FocusM.

Photo credit: South China Morning Post


Let us manage the dead

Giving a breakdown, Mohan Shan said that certain private crematorium charge about RM700 for its services, while local council run crematorium charge between RM200 and RM300.

“So, if we add personal protective equipment (RM200), transport (RM500), a good quality casket (RM500) and a profit of RM500, you will be able do it within RM2,500,” he opined.

Mohan Shan also expressed unhappiness that public hospitals were appointing unknown bodies to handle the last rites for deceased Hindus, adding they should engage reputable organisations to deal with such sensitive matters.

“It seems some mortuary workers are acting as brokers, recommending select funeral parlours as it is claimed that they get a commission out of it.

“The families have the right to choose how and who should be handling their dearly departed, not hospitals or mortuary staff,” he stressed.

With that, Mohan Shan urged MOH to appoint Hindu Sangam to manage the final rites of Hindus who died due to COVID-19, adding that his organisation will keep things manageable for both parties.

“We have teams across the country, even up to the district levels. For a start, let the families purchase the casket from us, at a reasonable price.

“Then, let MOH staffers ferry the remains to the nearest public or private crematorium using vans, just like how they ferry the remains of Muslims to their burial site,” he remarked. – July 22, 2021.

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