RESIDENTS from Section 22 in Petaling Jaya are strongly protesting against a casket business which is operating in their neighbourhood.
The operator was also said to have applied to Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to expand the business to occupy more lots in the commercial area.
A town hall session was held at the Section 22 basketball court and among those present were MBPJ Licensing Department director Sharinaz Samsudin who promised to raise their suggestions, opinions and complaints in the committee meeting in January next year.
“I cannot make any decision on my own, I will highlight this matter to the committee,” said Sharinaz.
Section 22 Residents Association chairman Parimala Nesamany said the casket shop issue started in 2018 and residents were disappointed that despite all their objections, the shop was in the midst of expanding business.
“We understand that all business applications do not need residents’ consent for approval. However, MBPJ must consider the sensitivity of residents who do not want this type of business here.
“There is proof to indicate that there is more to this business than just selling caskets. We suspect that the act of embalming bodies will also take place here,” she said.
Parimala added that the casket business should not have been approved in 2018 after public objections and it should not be approved for expansion now.
Damansara MCA chairman Tan Gim Tuan said MBPJ had the prerogative to consult the residents as this was part of the city council’s Local Agenda 21.
“Business licences are renewed yearly and under the Town and Country Planning Act, the city council has the right not to renew any business licence.
“In this case, the casket business is a sensitive issue among the residents. Having a casket business will depreciate the value of the neighbouring properties.
“People do not want to live next to such a business due to cultural beliefs,” added Tan.
One resident felt their rights to object was non-existent.
“We understand that this business operates on a commercial lot, but we did not expect a casket business. We thought that sundry shops, restaurants and car workshops that serve the community would be operating here.
“We would not have agreed for the residential land to be converted into a commercial lot if we knew there would be a casket business,” he said.
Also present at the meeting were Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei and MBPJ councillor Nalina Nair.
“I want everyone to be on the same page. The meeting enabled the residents to express their concerns,” said Nalina.
StarMetro contacted the business owner of Trinity Casket, Dominic Jude, who said the casket business was important for Petaling Jaya residents.
“The younger generation is not too concerned about the taboo of a casket shop in the neighbourhood compared to the elderly. I can understand that.
“Ironically, the people who are complaining have houses that face the cemetery and they somehow seem to accept that.
“We are not solely focused on making profit as we also do a lot of charity work. Each year, we provide about 40 caskets for free to the needy.
“For those who cannot afford, we allow them to pay what they can.
“As the population grows, we have an increase in demand for caskets and that is why we need an additional shoplot to store our caskets,” he said.
Dominic said he recently caught on CCTV a senior citizen throwing rubbish behind his unit who then lodged a complaint to the city council that his shop disposed rubbish indiscriminately.
“I showed the footage to the city council and they did not take action against me.
“Once, I told my staff to spray weed killer behind my shop and it was interpreted as I was trying to hide something. Everything we do at the shop is seen in a negative way and this is unfair to us,” said Dominic.