Mayor: Ipoh council to decide on application to build crematorium at sub-committee meeting
RESIDENTS in Bandar Baru Tambun, Ipoh and its surrounding areas are seeing red over plans to build a crematorium and columbarium on a piece of land close to their homes.
The committee of a Buddhist temple along Jalan Tambun has put in an application to the Ipoh City Council (MBI) for the proposed project.
Residents who are against the project started a group called Action Committee Against Crematorium and Columbarium in protest of the plan.
Adjacent to Bandar Baru Tambun is Taman Perpaduan Indah and more than 10 other housing estates with a population of over 30,000 people.
Ipoh city is 15 minutes away from the proposed site.
Action committee chairman Lt Col (Rtd) R. Morgan, 62, said MBI held a townhall meeting on Nov 16 to discuss the proposed project.
Residents from Bandar Baru Tambun and other nearby residential areas attended the meeting and rejected the proposal.
“At the meeting, we were made aware of a 1.4ha land near the Buddhist temple and the proposed construction of a crematorium and columbarium.
“The proposed plans involve the construction of a building with four furnaces and two blocks comprising four-storeys that can store 20,500 urns.
“We handed our first memorandum with 327 signatures on the day of the meeting to city council representatives and personally handed an extensive memorandum with 4,057 signatures a few days later at the MBI building,” he said.
The memorandum was handed to MBI planning officer Jaslina Shaidin, witnessed by Canning assemblyman and Perak Deputy Speaker Jenny Choy.
Choy said although the area was not under her purview, the issue was of interest because Taman Syabas, an area in her constituency, sat on the border with Tambun.
“Taman Syabas residents raised their concerns to me on the project,” she added.
Morgan said the project would affect residents’ well-being, cause pollution problems and result in drop of their property value.
“This has got nothing to do with race or religion, but it concerns residents’ rights and impending future issues,” he added.
Morgan said residents also planned to present the memorandum of protest to Ulu Kinta assemblyman Muhammad Arafat Varisai Muhamad as the area concerned was situated in his constituency.
Residents air woes
A Bandar Baru Tambun resident of 23 years Mat Kamal Omar, 61, a retiree, expressed concerns that his house was located just behind the vacant land for the proposed project.
“When I open my room window, I see limestone hills and greenery but if the project kicks off, I will be looking at multi-storey buildings,” said Mat Kamal, who is also the Bandar Baru Tambun Muslim resident committee chairman.
He said no one would buy a home next to a crematorium and columbarium as their property price would not appreciate.
“There is a lack of parking space here. Visitors to the columbarium will have to park along the main road which will result in traffic congestion.
“‘Bandar Baru Tambun is an area that is growing rapidly in terms of economy. Its population is dense. If the project takes off, residents will be greatly affected,” he added.
He said if the project was approved, it would disrupt the people’s peaceful way life there.
“The location of the crematorium and columbarium, in an area with high-density of residents, will cause a decline in real estate prices due to its close proximity to the houses,” he said.
“It will also result in reluctance among many to continue living in Bandar Baru Tambun.”
Mat Kamal said residents there bought their homes with hard-earned money.
“Most of us are still servicing housing loans and now we have to deal with this matter,” he added.
The proposed crematorium project would cause pollution problems because during incineration, he said, non-condensation and oxidation would occur, releasing carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other noxious gases.
The effects of incineration, he added, included water pollution that could be harmful to the community.
Mat Kamal said religious ceremonies involved noise pollution and the burning of ceremonial materials that would add to residents’ discomfort.
“There will be traffic congestion, especially during the Qing Ming festival, held for about 20 days in April, where families of the deceased come to pray, and clean the areas where the urns are placed,” he said.
“So imagine the number of families and vehicles in the area.
“Our housing area, surrounding areas and the main road of Jalan Tambun will serve as parking areas.
“People will park haphazardly, and this will inconvenience the teachers and students of SMK Tambun, which is located 500m from the proposed site.”
Mat Kamal said private crematoriums and columbariums should be built in suburban areas with lower density.
“We feel the proposed project will only bring problems to house owners in Bandar Baru Tambun and other housing estates,” he added.
Resident, Michael Lee, 64, is worried that the proposed site is close to a petrol station.
“I am concerned about an explosion as the petrol station and the empty plot of land are 50m apart,” he said, adding that the project was causing residents stress and anxiety.
“Having the project at this location is not a good idea,” he said.
Desmond Jansen, 65, said he was the first resident to move in to Bandar Baru Tambun on March 21, 1999.
“I often drive around for hours during a downpour to check and monitor for flooding at possible flood-prone areas to ensure everything is in order and residents are safe,” he said.
“I have a very close bond with this area.
Desmond echoed Mat Kamal’s opinion that such projects should be constructed in suburban areas.
Housewife Leong Lian Shun, 59, said residents were worried about the consequences that they would have to face if the project was approved.
“We have no issues with the temple and ceremonies, but it is not practical to have these facilities nearby houses.
“We bought this property for its serene surroundings. We do not want to open our windows and doors to see high-rise buildings or inhale smoke and deal with traffic,” she added.
No approval yet
When contacted, Ipoh mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin said the project had yet to be approved.
He said MBI had received an application from the temple requesting permission to build the crematorium and columbarium on state government land.
“We cannot stop any Malaysian citizen from making a land application.
“The city council received the application and followed procedure by calling for a townhall meeting with residents,” he said.
Rumaizi added that if the residents at the townhall do not agree for development to take place, the matter would be brought to the sub-committee meeting for discussion.
“Usually when residents, in the surrounding areas to a project are not agreeable, the application will not be approved,” he added.