New funeral parlour sites will see better after-death facilities

We thank Mr Sunil Kumar and Mr V. Balu for their feedback (Show the dead more respect, May 20, and Revamp area where funeral companies are located, May 23).

We have also contacted Mr Kumar about his experience at one of the funeral parlours located at Geylang Bahru.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) licenses funeral parlours with embalming facilities to safeguard environmental public health. As part of the regulatory regime, we issue guidelines and conduct periodic inspections of funeral parlour premises that provide embalming services.

We agree with the writers that after-death services should be provided in a manner that is in accordance with religious and cultural practices and preferences, and which accords dignity to the deceased and comfort to the bereaved families.

In response to Mr Kumar's feedback, NEA inspected the premises in question and found that the funeral parlour is no longer in operation. We have attempted to contact the licensee, and investigations are ongoing. We have also contacted funeral directors, funeral parlour operators, and the Association of Funeral Directors Singapore, on some of the feedback.

We will work with these stakeholders, in consultation with the relevant religious groups, to look at how the current processes can be improved, especially for families who prefer to carry out ritual washing of their loved ones away from home.

There is a growing demand for after-death facilities and services in Singapore.

To meet this demand, we will be launching five new funeral parlour sites for development over the next 10 years or so. These are all dedicated, purpose-built facilities, and are part of NEA's efforts to improve the after-death facilities and service delivery in Singapore.

Wong Chiu Ying

Director, Memorial Facilities and Planning Department

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'New funeral parlour sites will see better after-death facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe