By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Jan 8: Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof has lauded Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Amal Jariah Komuniti (Amal) Kuching for its initiative to extend its ‘van jenazah’ (hearse) network for free funeral/ambulance services throughout Sarawak.
Based on his experience and involvement with Sarawak Volunteers and Yayasan Sarawak in assisting the transfer of Sarawakian ‘jenazah’ (remains) from the peninsula to the State, he admitted that it was not easy and that would involve a high cost.
“Firstly, we need to deal with the hospital management. Secondly, the company that handles the coffin. Next, we have to transport the deceased to the airport and put them on a flight home to Sarawak.
“If the deceased is buried in Kuching, it would still be cheap. But what if we have to transport from Kuching to other places?
“This is where the ‘van jenazah’ network can facilitate the transportation of ‘jenazah’ and ease the burden of parties involved,” he said during the launch of Amal Kuching’s new ambulance at its operation centre at Masjid Nurul Khair, Kampung Samariang Batu here today.
The event saw the addition of a new ambulance for Amal Kuching where the total number of ‘van jenazah’ available for the branch organisation and its counterparts to provide free transportation services throughout Sarawak now stands at 12.
This sort of network, Fadillah said, facilitates the transporting of ‘jenazah’ from one destination to another and serves as an ambulance to transport bed-ridden patients to health facilities.
“For an example, if the death occurred in Kuching but the ‘jenazah’ is to be buried in Miri, they (Amal Kuching) would send the ‘jenazah: and pass the remains to their counterpart in Sri Aman.
“From there, the Sri Aman counterpart would use their van and pass the ‘jenazah’ to Sibu (counterpart), Sibu pass to Bintulu, and Bintulu up to Miri.
“Thus, their transportation journey would not be the whole (Kuching to Miri) stretch-long. That is their operation and that is why the counterparts in every division is important,” he added.
Fadillah who is also the Petra Jaya MP further urged Amal Kuching to come up with a work proposal in order for him to approve an annual grant for the organisation to cover their operation cost for providing free services to assist the needy.
He also called upon the members of the public to contribute to Amal Kuching so that efforts to provide good Islamic funeral management can be continued.
Also present were Amal Kuching chairman Mahathir Fatimah and Sarawak Islamic Religious Department (Jais) deputy director II Abang Borhanudin Abang Masuine. — DayakDaily