Cremation services can now be offered in Malta after a landmark piece of legislation was approved by Parliament.
“I am proud and honoured to announce that my first Bill, the Cremation Bill, is now law!” Rosianne Cutajar, the Labour MP who spearheaded the law, said. “I thank all those who supported my vision, and look forward to seeing its implementation in the coming months.”
Surveys forming part of the public consultation document for the bill have shown that a third of the Maltese population will consider cremating themselves after death.
I am proud and honoured to announce that my first Bill, the Cremation Bill, is now law! I thank all those who supported my vision, and look forward to seeing its implementation in the coming months. @JosephMuscat_JM @chrisfearne @Desiree_Attard @MarietteBorg @MaltaGov pic.twitter.com/OAt0iBPMpk
— Rosianne Cutajar (@RosianneCutajar) 29 May 2019
The fine print of the cremation bill
• People will be given flexibility on what to do with their ashes. For example, one can scatter them out to sea, plant them in the soil, or keep them in jewellery. Of course, one can also choose to store the ashes in an urn, which can be kept at home, buried in a tomb, stored inside a columbarium or, in the case of famous people, put on display inside a museum. Urns with remains cannot be sold.
• Each crematorium will have to have a mortuary, a viewing room, adequate facilities for the extraction of implants from the body, a cremation room and a storage room for remains.
• Regulation will be in the hands of the Superintendence of Public Health, who will be responsible for monitoring crematoria, conducting inspections on them at least once a year and empowering them to take all necessary action if they breach their license obligations.
• People who operate illegal crematoria risk a three to five year prison sentence and/or a fine of between €10,000 and €30,000. License breaches are punishable by six months’ jail and a fine of €5,000 and €15,000.
• A national registry will be set up to record people’s wishes on whether they want to cremated and, if so, how. While the registry won’t be legally-binding, it will serve as a platform for people to formally express their wishes to be cremated. People will be able to register from as young as 16 years old and can change their wishes at any moment.