SITIAWAN: Manjung philanthropist Datuk
In hindsight, Koh felt that he had made the right decision as the columbarium has laid to rest close to 300 deceased so far.
They were not only locals but also from Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Nepal.
“The columbarium is like a mini United Nations,” he said.
The columbarium, named after his parents, houses more than 100 deceased from Johor, over 40 from Perak, some from other states in Peninsular Malaysia and several from East Malaysia.
He had thought of providing a place for the deceased who are poor, but never expected such offer was extended to foreign workers who died in Malaysia.
“My intention was to help the poor and appreciate my parents and ancestors,” he said.
The columbarium is open all year while a mass prayer session will be held once every few years.
His children join him for the prayers held every year during Cheng Meng and hungry ghost festivals.
For the past 11 years, Koh has spent an average of RM4,000 on each deceased, and the total expenditure is estimated to be RM1.2 million for the 300 funerals of the deceased offered a spot at the columbarium after cremation.
The expenses also cover coffin and transportation costs.
“We are unable to check the background of every deceased. We allow anyone who wants this place to be their resting place.
“Some send the urns here after cremation. Some pass away without having anyone handling the funeral,” he said.
Koh said he and his children are willing to pay for the cost as the columbarium is built to eventually house 5,500 deceased.