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Sengkang MP Lam Pin Min Conveniently Dodges Concerns Over HDB’s Columbarium Cover-Up

Does this block of stone (the building lah, not Lam Pin Min) look more like a temple with a columbarium incorporated into it, or a columbarium which has a temple facility?

Following feedback from future Fernvale residents, the Lam, who is the MP for Sengkang West Single Member Constituency, issued a statement on his Facebook page, explaining more about the columbarium development, and emphasising that there will not be a crematorium built. For those confused between the two, a columbarium holds ashes of the dead, a crematorium is where bodies are burnt to ashes.

But Lam appears to be missing the point, which is: why did the HDB not make this development clear on its sales brochures and website so residents are aware of it?


From the sketch of the proposed building, it appears to be a pretty big development, and hardly looks like a temple. And Lam, in his statement, has also touted the columbarium as a state-of-the-art, automated one.

At face value, it does seem that the columbarium facility takes precedence over the temple facility, so why can’t the HDB state it clearly instead of merely calling it a temple, and inserting a tiny clause in the fine print (which had to be magnified 4 times on its website to be read) that a columbarium could be built?

This has rankled future residents, who also accuse the HDB of not mentioning the columbarium development in the sales brochure (though Lam says otherwise).

Lam’s Facebook explanation skirts the issue of transparency on the part of the HDB. He instead choosing to reassure residents that the columbarium development is super cool and will not inconvenience residents. The issue is, some of those residents might not even choose to stay there if they were aware of such a development.

It’s like offering a man a tasty sandwich, and after he accepts and bites into it, reveal that it’s a bug meat bun. Even if the sandwich taste really good, the poor chomper should at least know what’s in it first so he can decide whether or not to take a bite.

Hopefully the issue of transparency isn’t skirted during the dialogue session with LifeCorp (the columbarium builder), the URA and HDB on Sunday (4 Jan).

This is MP Lam Pin Min’s full Facebook post:    

“I have received many feedback from existing residents of Fernvale and future residents of Fernvale Lea regarding the Straits Times article (on 30th Dec) on the future Chinese Temple with columbarium service in the precinct. There were also many erroneous and misleading articles claiming that there will be crematorium and funeral parlour services at this new Chinese Temple. I understand the concerns of residents.

I have met the CEO of LifeCorp (Developer of this new temple), URA and HDB to discuss and seek clarification this morning.This plot of land has been designated as a reserve site for a Chinese Temple in the URA Masterplan and has been reflected on the brochure for the Fernvale Lea BTO development. It has also been indicated in the brochure that the proposed facility may include other ancillary uses, including Columbarium allowed under URA’s prevailing Development Control guidelines. I have verified with URA that such ancillary services (including Columbarium) should not be visible to the public and must not exceed 20% of the gross floor area.

The provision of Columbarium services in places of worship ( such as temples and churches) is not uncommon. They are available in Sengkang/ Punggol and other parts of Singapore, such as in Puat Jit Buddhist Temple (in Anchorvale), Fo Guang Shan Temple (in Punggol) and Church of St Francis Xavier ( in Serangoon Gardens), just to name a few.

This new Chinese Temple will be the first Chinese Temple in Singapore and in the region (outside Japan) with a modern automated Columbarium where niches are kept behind four walls and retrieved to eye level in private viewing booths to maintain privacy and solemn dignity during visitations. Visitation times will be done through E-booking to minimise crowds congregation (which is a common challenge in many traditional Columbarium). Buddhist worship and services will also be conducted in-doors in air- conditioned halls to minimise noise. To protect the environment, there will not be open burning of incense and offerings at the temple. I have also been reassured by the developer that there will NOT be crematorium or funeral parlour services at the new temple. In addition, there will be provision of free parking spaces in the temple premise as well.

The development plan of the Chinese Temple is still being finalised and we will be organising a dialogue session with LifeCorp, URA and HDB on 4th January 2015, 10am (Sunday) at Anchorvale CC multipurpose hall for them to share their plans with residents. Residents are most welcome to attend to share your feedback and concerns.”



  1. Aunty Jojo

    January 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Aiyoh.. just vote them out lah.. all they are after is $$$$$. Not sensitive to the people anymore.

  2. James

    July 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Nowadays even the SGH is dispensing indian generic drugs and charging. Them the regular price. With the originals. All is corrupt nowadays

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