Saturday, October 24, 2009

The demolished temple that never was

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Oct 23- The Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) said today an illegal structure demolished by its enforcement officers on Wednesday cannot be called a Hindu temple, “by any stretch of the imagination”.

Deputy Mayor Mohtar Hani said the structure in Persiaran Kerjaya, Jalan Glenmarie, Seksyen U1, Shah Alam, was a place where gamblers went to get predictions for 4D or numbers and not a house of worship.

Pictures of the site distributed to the press today showed Chinese deities and altars, along with a picture of a Hindu deity, in what looked like an old oil palm estate.

An appeal letter from the “temple” caretaker, K. Muniandy, asking for a month’s grace period to move, dated Feb 19, described the site as a “Tokong Datuk” or deity altar.

The revelations by MBSA today cast doubts on a statement by MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who yesterday denounced the demolition of the “temple”.

He said the demolition of the Mathurai Veeran temple was an act of treachery by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) against the Hindu community.

However MBSA councillor K. Uthayasoorian today said he was disappointed that MIC was resorting to such tactics for political mileage.

“They have twisted the facts,” he said, adding the embattled Indian party, which has lost the support of the majority of the community, was using the incident for its political survival.

According to him, the picture of the Hindu deity was brought to the site after the temple was demolished.

He said it was also disgrace for anyone to call the site a Mathurai Veeran temple and MBSA would not hesitate to lodge a police report and take legal action against the culprits which were raising such sensitive allegations.

Earlier this morning, about a dozen members from the Selangor MIC youth held a press conference at the site.

State party youth chief Shanker Raj Ayanger told the press they had lodged a police report about the incident yesterday.

He demanded the resignations of Selangor Executive Councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar, who oversees non-Muslim places of worship, for failing to protect the ‘temple’.

He added they would be handing over a memorandum of protest to the Selangor mentri besar, next Wednesday.

He also called on PR to honour it promise that no places of worship would be demolished, which was made after they took over state administration last year.