IPOH: Two brothers have been living with the remains of their father for years at their rundown home in Kampung Paloh here.
The matter came to light only after the police, acting on a complaint by a welder and an undertaker, rushed to the house on Thursday and found the skeletal remains of Lee Ying Fook in a basket.
A neighbour, Lee Kam Foong, 80, who remembered the dead man as a friendly person, said he could have died 17 or 18 years ago.
“I knew the old man had died and had asked his younger son about the burial arrangements.
“The son said everything had been taken care of and I took his word for it,” she said.
Another neighbour, a 55-year-old housewife who declined to be named, was told by the younger of the man's two sons, Hai Poh, 53, that his father’s body had been taken away by a lorry in the middle of the night. The older son Kim Poh, 55, is said to be mentally ill.
Welder Hau Wah Seng, 40, who lives nearby, said he first stumbled upon the bones under a mattress when he was in the house about six months ago. He said he put the skeletal remains in a basket and placed the basket in the living room and left. It is not known why Hau went to the house and why he was going through the things there.
He said he visited the house again on Thursday and found the basket, with the bones in it, at the same spot.
He then called an undertaker friend, who advised him to tell the police.
Hai Poh said he first found out that his father had died when he returned home from Kuala Lumpur 10 years ago.
“I found my father’s body on his mattress when I came home. I think, at that time, he had been dead for about two weeks,” the coffee shop helper told reporters yesterday at Pasir Puteh where he worked.
Hai Poh said he did not have any money for his father's burial then and went back to Kuala Lumpur to work and save money for the funeral. It is not known why he didn't report his father's death.
He said he came back several years later and found that the body had been removed. He returned to Kuala Lumpur and, two years ago, decided to come home for good.
“I didn’t know that my father’s remains were still in the house until the police came,” he said, adding that his mother had died when the brothers were still young.
He added that he was not in talking terms with his brother and had never asked him about their father.
Ipoh deputy OCPD Supt Che Sab Hanafiah said they had ruled out foul play, adding that police rushed to the dirty and dilapidated house at about 4pm on Thursday.
The skeletal remains were sent to the forensic department at the Ipoh Hospital.
Supt Che Sab said tests were being carried out on the bones to verify the identity of the dead man, who was believed to be in his 70s when he died.