Disposition of Remains

Part I.
Name of Country: Malaysia

Part II.  U.S. Embassy or Consulate Information
U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur
376 Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur 50400, Malaysia
Phone: (+60)3-2168-5000
Fax: (+60)3-2148-5801
After Hours Phone: (+60)3-2168-5000

Part III.  Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services available to visitors.
Country Profile: Most major religious denominations are present in Malaysia.  The four main religions are Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. For further information visit the State Department’s Background Notes/Country Fact Sheets.

Religious Activities For Visitors: Malaysia is officially an Islamic country. However, non-Muslims are free to pursue their own religious beliefs and worship as they please. A variety of religious organizations serve the local Chinese, Indian, and expatriate communities. To avoid unintentionally giving offense, try to become familiar with the standards of behavior appropriate for interacting with members of each of the major Malaysian ethnic groups.

For Christians, local Anglican, Baptist, LDS, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic denominations hold English-language services. The Presbyterian congregation serves as the principal expatriate international Protestant church, welcoming attendance by all worshipers without regard to previous affiliation. The nearest synagogue is in Singapore.

Part IV.  Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in the Host Country:  Major mortuaries used by U.S. citizens, if applicable – name, address, phone/fax, contact names, quality of services, service cost.

DISCLAIMER:  The U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

Part V.  Profile of services available in the host country regarding preparation and shipment of remains:

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.  Autopsies can be requested by the next of kin, at the expense of the next of kin.  In cases where there is a suspicion of unnatural death, the police can request that an autopsy be performed.  The report of the physical examination is typically completed within a one week, but the chemistry report takes much longer, up to six months.  There is only one laboratory in the country that does the chemical analysis for post-mortem examinations, and getting the results in a routine autopsy case is often very slow.

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.

Costs

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.

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.

Local Burial 

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.