MIC will have to deal with the issue of two 'forgotten' crematoriums if it is to move ahead in Port Dickson.
Apparently the crematoriums never got past the “artist’s impression” stage and the money is still unaccounted for.
Just over two decades ago, one of the choice locations between Port Dickson and Lukut was home to the district’s sole Hindu and Sikh crematoriums.
Then the state government divided the 10-acre plot of land along Jalan Seremban and separately allocated portions to the Hindu, Sikh, Catholic and Baha’i communities.
The Hindus and Sikhs received 55 percent of the land to build a crematorium each while the Catholics and Baha’i were given 30 percent and 15 percent respectively for their burial sites.
But the land turned out to be too swampy for a burial ground hence only the two crematoriums were eventually built there.
Both belonged to the respective Hindu and Sikh temples located in Port Dickson town.
When the mid-1990s rolled in, an MIC division leader proposed that the crematoriums be upgraded with gas cremators.
He also sought the state government’s approval to acquire the original plot of land and rebuild the new crematoriums elsewhere.
“The hidden agenda behind this proposal involved the commercial development of that prime land,” said Port Dickson PKR assemblyman, M Ravi.
He, however, asked that FMT withold the MIC leader’s identity at this point.
“The state government approved the project on condition that both temple committees agreed to it and that an alternative plot of land is identified for the new crematoriums,” Ravi said.
“The MIC leader then brought in a developer to survey the land and soon after that an artist’s impression of the new crematoriums was displayed at both temples.”
Pleased with the sketch, the temple committee chairmen and the devotees gave the project their blessings.
The crematoriums were subsequently demolished and a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new site in Jalan Sua Betong.
Today over 200 shoplots stand in Jalan Seremban while in Jalan Sua Betong a rusty structure and a signboard bearing the crematorium’s name, hint at a forgotten project.
Ravi described it as “nothing more than a cowshed”.
And that is only the Hindu crematorium. Aside from the artist’s impression, there is nothing to indicate plans for the construction of a Sikh temple.
“During the groundbreaking ceremony, the MIC leader announced that the state government had contributed RM270,000 for the construction of the new crematoriums.
“But the current temple committees insist there is no record of these funds,” Ravi said.
According to Ravi, the then temple presidents did not question the disappearance of the RM27,000 nor did they protest the reneged promise of the new crematoriums, because the temples were helmed by MIC members themselves.