Most typical funeral services are available in Malaysia, including embalming, cremation, casket and urn sales, preparation and shipment for export, and exhumation services. Unembalmed bodies are generally able to be stored in morgues in many parts of the country for up to thirty days while awaiting decisions about final disposition of remains. In cases where there is a suspicion of unnatural death, the police can request that an autopsy be performed. The preliminary findings of the cause of death are typically completed within one week. However, the final determination of the cause of death usually includes the results of toxicology testing. Toxicology testing is conducted by the Malaysian National Chemistry Department and can take up to 6 months, as there is only one laboratory in the country that does chemical analysis for post-mortem examinations.
All deaths in Malaysia must be registered with the National Registration Department (JPN). The hospital mortuary generally requires a letter from the U.S. Embassy authorizing the release of remains to the funeral director selected by the next-of-kin. Embalming and cremation are both options, and licensed funeral services providers are able to prepare and ship remains. Exportation of cremated remains in a sealed urn requires a permit, which will generally be obtained by the funeral director. For more information about importing cremated remains, see the Transportation Security Administration’s web site at http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=remains .
Exhumation is possible, particularly if the remains have been buried for at least five years, and there is no concern regarding infectious disease. Section 97 of the Local Government Act of 1976 has details of the requirements.
As a multi-ethnic society where Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions coexist, funeral rites and ceremonies are available for a wide variety of religions (including Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Taoist and others) depending on the particular affiliation of the family and the wishes of the deceased or the Next-of-Kin.
Deaths that occur under suspicious circumstances will be investigated by the local police, and generally an autopsy will be required to determine exact cause of death. In the event of death by certain infectious diseases, or when the deceased may have been HIV positive, the funeral preparations may be required to be completed by a special funeral provider who is equipped to handle the remains in accordance with special public health requirements.
Most hospitals have the capability to store remains for at least a short period of time pending the notification of next-of-kin and making decisions about the disposition of remains.
While prices vary for different funeral service providers, and each situation is unique, the below ranges offer good estimates for the costs associated with the most common situations. Costs listed are in US dollars, based on an exchange rate at the time of writing of approximately $1 = RM4.40. Families should contact the funeral directors, morticians, etc. directly to ascertain an accurate quote of costs.
Repatriation of Remains to United States
|From Peninsular Malaysia||5,500 – 10,000|
|From East Malaysia||6,500 – 12,000|
These costs include the required zinc-lined casket, embalming, documentation, and air freight charges.
|Peninsular Malaysia||4,000 – 6,000|
|East Malaysia||4,500 – 6,000|
There can be significant variation based on burial plot location and casket selection, although this is a good approximation.
Cremation and Shipping of Remains to United States
|From Peninsular Malaysia||3,500 – 5,000|
|From East Malaysia||4,000 – 5,500|
These costs include the cremation, urn, and all required documentation and fees.