Thursday March 14, 2013
Cremating needs experience, court told
By NURBAITI HAMDAN
SHAH ALAM: Only a person with experience can cremate bodies, a crematorium operator told the murder trial of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others.
C. Balasubramaniam, 50, who claims to have cremated thousands of bodies, said it would be tough for a person without experience to cremate the bodies.
The coffin would be placed on top of the wood and more wood would have to be staked around the coffin to avoid this from falling over, he said, adding that the cremation process would start after prayers and rituals were carried out.
The temperature, he said, would be so high that no one could stand the heat near the cremation place.
“It takes four to five hours to complete the burning,” he said, adding that in preparation for a cremation, he would “pile four storeys of rubber tree wood”.
It was previously suggested by the prosecution that Sosilawati, 47, together with her driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, and Ahmad Kamil, 32, were murdered and burned at a farm in Banting.
Balasubramaniam also testified that his father, from whom he learned how to cremate bodies, only used rubber tree wood (kayu getah) for cremation.
Trial judge Justice Akhtar Tahir then asked him if there was a special reason, to which the witness replied: “Only rubber tree wood can burn.”
To a question by counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad, Balasubramaniam said any other type of wood would not burn.
Earlier, site supervisor R. Ganesan, 46, testified he had sent his then 15-year-old son to stay and work at Ladang Gadong under the supervision of fourth accused R. Kathavarayan.
“I sent him on Aug 31, 2010, between 12pm and 1pm. He was a problematic teenager who liked to skip school. I was advised to send him to work as a way of rehabilitating him,” said Ganesan.
He said he did not notice anything amiss during the half hour he was at the farm to discuss with Kathavarayan about his son.
N. Pathmanabhan, T. Thilaiyalagan, R. Matan and Kathavarayan are charged with the murders of Sosilawati and her companions at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, at between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.
The hearing continues.