NSP slams govt agencies over columbarium

NSP slams govt agencies over columbarium
Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, newly elected National Solidarity Party (NSP) secretary-general.

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) hit out at the authorities over a proposed columbarium at the upcoming Fernvale Lea estate in Sengkang.

The opposition outfit took issue with the Housing Board, criticising it for not specifying in its sale brochure that a designated Chinese temple would include a columbarium.

It was only in the disclaimers section that the board said the proposed facilities are subject to change, said NSP secretary-general Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss in a statement yesterday.

"HDB has a vital duty to disclose as much information as possible to their buyers in their sale brochure, so that their buyers can make an informed decision," she said.

The columbarium has sparked an outcry from some residents who are moving into the adjacent new public housing flats this year.

They said they did not know about the columbarium and slammed the authorities for awarding the tender to a business instead of religious groups.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss echoed the claims, saying "the decision to award... (the) temple site to a business entity in a tender where bona fide religious entities have also bidded is unpalatable".

Last July, Eternal Pure Land, which is owned by Life Corp, won the tender for $5.2 million, edging out a Taoist association and a Buddhist society.

She called on the Urban Redevelopment Authority to review its decision-making to include public consultation before allowing developers to start.

She also said that operating columbariums is lucrative and questioned the authorities, who have said that the columbarium should take up only up to a fifth of the total gross floor area.

"Still, one cannot help wondering whether the development will be a Chinese temple containing a columbarium or a columbarium containing a Chinese temple," she said.

This article was first published on January 12, 2015.
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