The Star on-line
Thursday December 25, 2008
Tussle over body ends
By ZALINAH NOORDIN
PETALING JAYA: The body of a 65-year-old Malaysian, who died in a hotel fire in Manila and which was held for four days by a funeral parlour in the Philippines over a payment dispute, will return today. The episode began when a hospital released the body to the funeral parlour instead of waiting for it to be claimed by the next-of-kin.
The deceased, Balakrishnan Ap- pavu, was believed to have been trapped in the budget hotel he was staying at, Joward's Pension Home in Manila, when it caught fire last Saturday. He had been scheduled to return to Malaysia the following day.
His son, Kumares Balakrishnan, 37, a product manager with a multinational company here, flew to the Philippines to resolve the matter.
"The funeral parlour demanded that I pay them 500,000 pesos (about RM38,000) for my father's body," he said.
After failing to reach an agreement with the funeral parlour, he sought help from the Malaysian embassy in Manila.
After much negotiation, the funeral parlour agreed to release the body for a reduced sum of 300,000 pesos (about RM23,000). "It's still a high price to pay, but I didn't want things delayed any more. I just wanted my father's body back in Malaysia," Kumares said.
He told The Star that his father's body would be flown back today, arriving at KL International Airport at about 5.30pm.
"I'm glad the whole episode is over. "Not only had I to deal with the death of my father, but the whole episode was just too much to digest. "Now I just want to concentrate on getting the funeral process over and done with," he added.