KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) has stressed that all matters related to the management of the remains of COVID-19 victims in the capital are being handled in an orderly manner.
Its director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim said it was done through the setting up of a temporary one-stop centre (Pusara) near the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) to manage the remains of Muslim and non-Muslim COVID-19 patients.
He explained that there were five containers at the centre that could accommodate 225 bodies at one time, managed by about 70 staff and volunteers.
“In one day, we can release about 50 bodies to be processed and claimed by the families and we will ensure that we collected the data so that the remains can be managed in an orderly and integrated manner,” he said after inspecting the burial of 18 COVID-19 victims at the Raudhatul Sakinah Muslim Cemetery in Taman Selaseh today.
Aminuddin said Pusara, which started operations in July, was a joint initiative of various agencies such as NADMA, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, HKL and the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI).
According to Aminuddin, the centre also provides the facility for the next-of-kin to apply for one-off assistance of RM5,000 under the COVID-19 Death Management Special Assistance programme.
Responding to negative comments from several quarters on the use of backhoes to dig graves, he said the method was used to speed up the funeral process in various situations.
“If possible, we don’t want the remains (of COVID-19 patients) to be exposed for a long time outside. We want to make sure the burial process is completed in three minutes, that is the standard operating procedure,” he said.
Aminuddin said NADMA also collected input from JAWI on the needs and welfare of the staff who were involved in managing the remains of COVID-19 victims to be presented at the National Security Council meeting.
Currently, there are 113 staff in the COVID-19 Special Funeral Management Team who manage funerals at hospitals and medical centres around Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, comprising 74 JAWI staff, 21 staff from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department and 18 from the Armed Forces Religious Corps, while for volunteers, there are 27 grave diggers and 54 van drivers.