KUALA LUMPUR: Every year, a few hundred people die as unknown persons. Just last year, 531 bodies were not claimed, according to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine.
Its director Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood said most of them were found dead in public areas such as five-foot ways, rented rooms or houses, bushes, lakes and rivers, and also on roads due to traffic accidents.
Most die of natural causes while the rest die in accidents or from suicide, homicide and undetermined causes, he added.
"Most of the bodies or skeletal remains were males, and between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of them are believed to be foreigners as they did not have BCG injection scars," he said.
"Almost all of them had no documents on them."
Last year for instance, of the total unclaimed bodies at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), only 1 per cent was identified but their families could not afford to bury them and asked the hospital to do it instead, he added.
Dr Mohd Shah said there were 531 unclaimed bodies out of 81,921 recorded deaths nationwide last year compared with 752 out of 97,099 in 2015.
Of the unclaimed bodies in 2015, 161 were out of the norm, believed to be Rohingya and Bangladeshi human-trafficking victims found in mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis, near the Malaysia-Thailand border.