Parliament: Planned funeral home must take steps to lower impact

The operator of a planned funeral parlour in Bukit Batok will have to put in place measures to minimise the impact of its activities on residents, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament yesterday.

These could include barriers to keep funeral activities discreet and eco-friendly burners to minimise smoke emissions.

"Rituals and funeral processions will be confined within the site as far as possible to minimise disturbance," he added.

Mr Masagos was replying to Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), who had also asked how the site in Bukit Batok Street 23 was selected.

The funeral parlour is among four such facilities that will be opened in the next decade to meet growing demand as the population ages.

Mr Masagos said the site next to Bukit Batok Industrial Park A was chosen as there was a "dearth of facilities in the western region".

The closest such facility was in Choa Chu Kang, he said, but it was difficult to reach without a car.

He also said the National Environment Agency would work with the funeral parlour operator and other agencies to reduce the impact of hearses when these are in the area.

 
 
 

"This can include ensuring accessibility via different routes and avoiding roads within residential estates as far as possible," he added.

The sites will be progressively launched over the next decade or so, and are located in various parts of Singapore to provide a better distribution of funeral parlour services for bereaved families and their visitors.

The other three funeral parlour sites to be opened in the next decade are in Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands and Mandai.

By 2040, the annual number of resident deaths is projected to double to around 40,000.

Mr Masagos said that as a general rule, sites for funeral parlours were selected after considering factors such as development plans for the area, the capacity of the road network to support anticipated traffic, and accessibility to public transport.

"As a small and densely populated city-state, there will always be competing demands for space to meet Singapore's various development needs," he said.

"Through careful planning and by taking mitigation measures, the Government will make the best effort to minimise potential disamenities arising from these developments," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2019, with the headline 'Planned funeral home must take steps to lower impact'. Print Edition | Subscribe