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    Apr 04, 2016

    Pre-pay for your, and others, funeral

    PAY for funerals in instalments. And not just for your own funeral.

    Yes, there are schemes that allow people to make regular, upfront payments to a group fund to ease the burden of families who cannot afford it.

    Khairat kematian is a scheme where people can sign up to ensure that their last rites will be executed without complications.

    It runs on a principle of mutual benefit - everyone pitches in a small amount for the person who needs the money.

    Engineer Yahya Ahmad, 57, is a believer of this practice.

    Four years ago, he started setting aside $5 a month to ensure that when he dies, all funeral arrangements will be carried out for him at no extra charge.

    All the necessary procedures, such as prayers, bathing the body, embalming and even transport to the burial ground will be included.

    Says Mr Yahya: "I no longer have to worry about what will happen when I pass on, as everything is settled."

    These schemes are carried out by Muslim burial service organisations.

    Mr Yahya belongs to the Persekutuan Kebajikan Islam Teluk Kurau, which has been carrying out this scheme for more than 60 years.

    The organisation has over 5,000 subscribers to the scheme, which also covers spouses.

    Teluk Kurau's administrative executive, Ariffin Yusoff, 65, says the concept of khairat kematian has been around since people were living in the kampung.

    The average cost of a Muslim burial is around $1,400. Mr Ariffin says some people have been paying Teluk Kurau for more than 20 years.

    "In a way, those who sign up for this not only help themselves, they also help other members of the community (who can't afford a funeral)," he adds.

    He says about 10 other Muslim burial service organisations have this khairat kematian scheme.

    More than 120 people have signed up for the two-year-old scheme offered by Persatuan Kebajikan Islam Sinaran Baharu.

    Roslan Sambri, the 52-year-old director of Sinaran Baharu, says: "It helps to lessen the worry for the person who signed up and, also, you get to help people who might be in need.

    "It is what we encourage in Islam - to support one another."

    Sinaran Baharu and Teluk Kurau are both Mutual Benefit Organisations registered under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

    "We regularly submit reports about our company, and all the money we collect goes to the appropriate avenues," says Mr Ariffin.

    "This is money that people have entrusted to us. We are not going to misuse it.

    "We were put on this earth to not just think about ourselves," he adds.

    "This way, I get peace of mind and I get to help people at the same time."