1.I am sure most Muslims would find time at least once a year, especially during Ramadan and Hari Raya, to visit and tend the graves of our dearly departed.
2.I am writing on the state of the Muslim cemeteries in Malaysia in particular that I periodically visit in Johor Baru, like the Tanah Perkuburan Islam at Jalan Mahmmoodiah. I have nothing but praise for the immaculate work done in maintaining these cemeteries. However there are only so much that the maintenance people can do to make visiting the graves a more pleasant experience. I observed that careful planning and design of these cemeteries are severely lacking, except for the older area around the Royal Mausoleum at the Tanah Perkuburan Islam at Jalan Mahmmoodiah, which has proper roads and drains. The other areas lack these.
3.I believe the Jabatan Agama Islam Johor (JAIJ) is planning new cemeteries in keeping with the increasing population. I think other Jabatan Agama in other states would also be doing the same. In my frequent travels up and down the Peninsular I observed that most Muslim Cemeteries do lack the proper roads and drains infrastructure necessary for good and easy maintenance which means that graves cannot be easily be located.
4.With regards to the state of many of our cemeteries, it would not be surprising to come across with people who go to cemeteries, and take hours to remember and find the old graves of their departed.
5.As such, for the planning of new cemeteries I would suggest that the various States Jabatan Agama Islam procure the services of specialists Consultants in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, Surveying/GIS who would be able to design and build a cemetery complete with modern utilities and data management system. These shall include the design of terraced earth platforms for burial lots covered with grass turf, complete with footpaths, roads, and car parks with permanent drains and suitable landscaping features together with a building to house the cemetery Management, maintenance and security staff.
6.The new modern cemetery should also have a system of burial lots for graves placed in a computerized GIS database maintained by Jabatan Agama Islam so that the recently-departed can be quickly and systemically designated a burial lot and individual graves could be easily located.
7.A modern Muslim cemetery should be like a gated housing estate; the only difference is that there are no houses but just graves and burial lots which can easily be located at any time without the help of our parents whose memory would slowly fade as they gracefully age.
8.Good things are never cheap but if the various Jabatan Agama Islam can invest millions of ringgit in new buildings, a modern Muslim cemetery could not be beyond its budget.
9.We, the living work hard to have a beautiful house we wish to live with our family, I think it is only right that when our time on earth is up we are buried in well maintained cemeteries so that our loved one would visit our final resting place on earth sometimes.