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Malaysia - Death
Who to Call When Someone Dies?
If a member of your family dies at home then you must call the police at your nearest local police station and an ambulance. The body must not be moved at all. Malaysian Law states that only an official can handle a dead body. The same law states that a medical official must be present to confirm the death for the purposes of the death certificate and records.
The body is then transferred to a hospital. The hospital can be chosen by the family if preferred. If the ambulance takes the body then the hospital will be a public hospital. There will also be a fee payable for the ambulance service. The deceased person’s documents must be produced. These include passport, visas and any medical cards they may have had. Once the body has been removed, taken to hospital and recorded, you will be notified when you can arrange to have the body collected from the hospital.
After the recording of the death has been registered by the police and a medical official, the body can be collected from the hospital for the funeral arrangements to be made. On the release of the body, a letter of release called Surat Kebenaran Pengkebumian will be issued. This is the official document that tells funeral directors this body has been recorded by the necessary legal requirements. This process could take longer if an autopsy has to be performed if a medical official was not able to be present on collection of the dead body. This, for example, could be in a place away from home.
Registration of Death
The next-of-kin must register the death within seven days of the date of the death being recorded by the police and the hospital. Registration of death is done at a police station.
The documents which must be presented are as follows:
- Deceased person’s passport
- Next of Kin’s passport and visa (if applicable)
- The forms which were issued by the medical official
The police report on the death will take seven days. If the person is not a Malaysian citizen then the report from the police should be taken to the deceased person’s embassy to record the death there.
The death must also be reported to the The National Registration Dept. Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara. The death certificate (sijil kematian) will then be issued. The registration department has regional branches and the website below gives details of how to find your local branch:
Burial or Cremation
Malaysian law determines whether a person can be buried or cremated. This is determined by the visa status of the deceased. If the deceased was a Malaysian citizen then the body must be buried in Malaysia. If they were a non-citizen then the body must be cremated and repatriated. The employer, if on a working visa, must also be informed of the death.
Malaysia has no set law on when a funeral should take place. Because of Malaysia’s multi-religion culture, people are free to have a funeral as to their own traditions. Religions, and there are many of them in Malaysia, are well-respected in Malaysia. Funerals can be held in a number of places. Home, (if not an apartment building), churches, though permission has to be sought from the church, Chinese Temples, public and private funeral parlours.
Cremations have a number of options too. There is a choice between public or private crematoriums of various religions, or in one of the various churches relevant to the deceased religion.
It is important that you’re aware that aviation restrictions cannot take coffins on board aircraft. This means a non-citizen of Malaysia must be repatriated and cremated so that the ashes can be taken back to the country. The urn must be sealed before being allowed on board the aircraft. Funeral companies can arrange all of this for you and your family.
Hospitals can make recommendations for funeral parlours or crematoriums. Funeral services can make all the arrangements if this is the wishes of the family. They can perform all the necessary paperwork, collect the body from the hospital, arrange the police report and even arrange the death certificate.
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