Life Corporation says Sengkang temple and columbarium plan was 'open and transparent'

Chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (centre) speaks to residents after the residents' dialogue session on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (centre) speaks to residents after the residents' dialogue session on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - The company behind the proposed Chinese temple and columbarium at Sengkang has insisted it was upfront about its plans during the tender process.

Life Corporation came under fire from the public for planning to build a commercial columbarium on a site reserved for religious use, near to where new Housing Board flats are being constructed.

The Government said on Jan 29 that there will be no commercial columbarium - one that is run for profit instead of a service offered by religious groups - and that it was a mistake to have awarded the tender to a for-profit company.

In an announcement posted to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday, Life Corporation insisted that "the tender process was open and transparent".

"Life Corporation provided all information required and requested in accordance with the tender conditions."

Prospective residents of an upcoming Build-To-Order project, Fernvale Lea, were against the idea that a columbarium would be built next to their estate, especially by a for-profit company with no religious links.

They claimed that a site, reserved for a Chinese temple as per the site plan, should not have been awarded to a commercial entity.

Life Corporation said that it had always been the intention of the company to have religious individuals head the development of the temple component of the site.

It added that preliminary plans had already been made for temple operations since the tender was awarded in July last year.

The company said on Monday that it is working with the Government to come to a "mutually satisfactory and viable solution" to the matter.