Modern RM1.3mil crematorium burners crippled by poor wiring

Generators are kept as a power supply backup at the Petaling Jaya City Councils crematorium.

Despite there being two electrical burners at the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) crematorium, only one can be operated at a time due to issues with the electrical cabling.

The council’s public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said although both burners are in working condition, they cannot be operated simultaneously.

The council’s 40-year-old crematorium is located at Jalan 229, Section 51A, Petaling Jaya.

“We cannot operate both electrical burners at the same time because of power trips,” said Zainun.

“We keep two older gas ones that are 40 years old as backup in case the modern ones break down or if there is a power failure,” he said.

She added the council would table a budget request for an upgrade of the electrical cabling soon.

Zainun said the two modern burners with computerised controls were purchased in 2012 at a total cost of RM1.3mil.

“Each cremation process requires up to 415 kilowatt of energy.

“Our existing wiring cable panels can’t support both burners at the same time due to the high energy consumption,” she said.

Petaling Jaya based community group, MyPJ, spokesman Jeffrey Phang said the issue of power supply should not arise because it should have been addressed when the new burners were purchased and installed.

“Why have so many burners when only one can be used? The MBPJ crematorium is a cheaper option compared to privately-run ones. Residents should never be deprived of this option,” he said.

Councillor Derek Fernandez said he had raised the matter with the mayor and requested that generators be placed at the crematorium while the issue is being addressed.

Crematorium caretaker Robert Samuel, who has been working there for five years, said it only closes for two days a year, Deepavali and Christmas.

He said the two computerised burners are always in operation.

On average, over 100 bodies are cremated each month there.

“In June, we cremated 104 bodies,” he said, adding it takes between two and three-and-a-half hours for a body to be cremated depending on the type of coffin.

“Family members should come on time. When they bring the bodies late, this may affect other cremations.

“We only reject requests when they clash with others who had made a booking earlier. We will then give them the next available slot but it has to be before 5pm because we do not cremate at night,” he said.

The council-operated crematorium charges RM180 for an adult and RM100 for a child.

The maintenance cost a year is RM180,000.

A nearby private operator charges about RM588 for adults, RM238 for those below 18 years old and RM158 for those below a year old.

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