Hindus in Malaysia protest costlier burials

September 29th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 29 (IANS) A section of Hindus in Malaysia who bury their dead have protested the sharp rise in fees for burial plots at a cemetery in Penang state. A group of 12 Hindu NGOs submitted a memorandum to the state government complaining that the Hindu community had been left in a quandary after the Penang Hindu Endowment Board decided to charge RM500 (approx. $22) for plots at the Batu Lanchang Hindu cemetery in George Town.

To compound matters, the board also decided to impose renewal fees of RM5,000 ($2,200), to be paid after 10 years.

State legislator R.S.N. Rayer said he was informed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that an amicable solution would be sought. He said the matter would be raised at next week’s state executive council meeting.

Hindu Action Network executive council member N. Ahilan said the board reserved the right to exhume the remains and lease the plot to others if the renewal fees were not paid within 10 years.

He said that the exorbitant charges and conditions were “inconsiderate”, The New Straits Times reported Monday.

Malaysia has an ethnic Indian population of an estimated 2.6 million, a bulk of it Tamil Hindus who came here during the British era. They form nearly eight percent of the country’s 28 million population.

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