Malaysian Hindu Sangam Concerned With Temple Evictions

November 7, 2006

Author: Datuk A. Vaithilingam

Source: Hinduism Today

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, November 7, 2006: Datuk A. Vaithilingam, President of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam writes:

"The Malaysia Hindu Sangam is very much saddened with the approach on Hindu temples issue by certain government and private sector authorities. Recently the Semenyih Local Council authorities demolished a Muneeswarar Temple despite the fact that the temple authorities have agreed in writing that they will on their own remove the temple. The authorities never consulted the Malaysia Hindu Sangam on this. We also understand that the MIC was also not informed of the demolition.

Yesterday, we were informed that five Shah Alam Hindu temples, which are all more than 100 years old, were invited to the Petaling District office at Subang Jaya and were informed that they were all to be removed to a Komplex Kovil in Shah Alam. The five leaders rejected this move and obviously there were emotional exchanges. One of them was veteran leader of Sungai Renggam Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Section 19, Shah Alam. He has been through the struggle to retain this historical temple for a long time since the 1990's. It was most unfortunate that Mr. Ramasundram had a heart attack after leaving the meeting room and passed away about an hour later at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre. He has had so many emotional encounters over the past decade.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam is grateful to the Menteri Besar of Selangor for having agreed to reconsider the move of the five temples in Shah Alam being placed in a Komplex Kovil. This was in response to an appeal by the MIC President Dato' Seri S. Samy Vellu.

All estate temples are not squatter temples and they are mostly more than 100 years old. Officers must realize that they are land provided by the estate land owners. Existing over such a long period means they are automatic permanent temples. We call on the state governments to immediately gazette there places of worship as official temple land. Same applies to all temples which were provided land by government departments. These temples can never be considered to be squatters. We appeal to the authorities to be more humane in their approach to temple issues.