Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Provision of Wake Spaces, on 3 November 2020
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) over the past 10 years, how many funeral wakes have taken place in HDB void decks annually; (b) whether any forecast has been done for future trends; and (c) what is being done in light of Singapore’s ageing population to ensure adequate facilities and community spaces for bereaved families to hold funeral wakes in future years.
1 Funeral wakes are mostly held at Housing Development Board (HDB) community spaces. Between 2010 and 2019, an average of about 8,000 wakes were held annually at void decks and multi-purpose pavilions. A smaller number of funeral wakes are held in purpose-built funeral parlours, places of worship and private home compounds.
2 As the population ages, the number of resident deaths is projected to increase to around 40,000 in 2040. The demand for after-death facilities and services, such as wake spaces, will increase in tandem.
3 The Government has long-term plans to ensure sufficient funeral wake spaces as the population ages. We will be increasing the number of funeral parlours in Singapore. The National Environment Agency (NEA) and HDB is redeveloping the existing funeral parlours at the former Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex into a new funeral parlour complex in Bidadari estate, which is expected to complete in 2025. In addition, four more funeral parlour sites will be launched for development over the next decade. The sites are located in various parts of Singapore to provide a better distribution of funeral parlours for the convenience of the bereaved families and visitors. The first of these four sites, at Woodlands Industrial Estate, was launched in July 2020 for development.
4 My Ministry and NEA will continue to work closely with other Government agencies such as the Ministry for National Development, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the HDB to monitor the long-term demand for funeral spaces and ensure that the necessary facilities are ready ahead of demand.