Thursday, February 10, 2011

No reason to keep temple closed

HRP files notice under the Freedom of Information Act 2010, demanding explanation from the Selangor government.
PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Party today sent a legal notice to the Selangor government seeking clarification on steps taken to reopen the Bukit Gasing Sivan Temple in Petaling Jaya.
Its pro-tem secretary-general, P Uthaya Kumar, wants the state government to disclose the reasons for the stop-work order on the temple in 2008 and other details under the Freedom of Information Act 2010 (Selangor).
“We act for the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and the scores of devotees of the Bukit Gasing Sivan temple in Petaling Jaya.
“According to a recent news report in Tamil daily Makkal Osai, the state government announced that the temple will remain closed, contradicting a state assemblyman’s earlier statement,” said Uthaya in the letter.
Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manoharan had said on Monday that the hilltop temple will be re-opened to the public after the deities have been moved to a new shelter built just beside the main building. The temple was ordered to be closed by the state government for safery reasons
Uthaya said the state government has no legal basis to keep the temple closed as it was in contravention of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
He also questioned if there was a bona-fide concern over safety and why there were mansions on the way down from the temple propped up by 100-feet safety beams visibly protruding on the sides.
He pointed out that based on safety reasons, then scores of other hill slope houses and condominiums in other areas in Selangor with such reinforcements should been closed down.
He also said that there have been no cases of other places of worship ever being closed or issued a stop-work order by the state government.
“I cannot understand how the new temple (in the new shelter) can be dangerous to the public. Are there devotees in the thousands going up and down the temple daily to justify saying that the place is not safe?” asked Uthaya.
“Is this an attempt by the Selangor government to close down this temple in collusion with the nearby millionaires who reside in their mansions along Bukit Gasing?”
Popular place of worship
The lawyer-turned-politician also said that he was suspicious of the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) delay in getting the safety works, which started in 2008, completed.
The Bukit Gasing Sivan temple has been a popular place of worship in the Klang Valley and the temple management even provided shuttle service for devotees during festival time.
“The erosion near the Sivan temple is small and I suspect the state government has a hidden agenda by deliberately raising safety issue to stall the opening of the temple,” he added.
“If the state is sincere on the temple issue, then Mentari Besar Khalid Ibrahim should get the matter sorted out immediately and grant the land title and at the same time gazette the Sivan temple as a permanent place of worship.”
Uthaya said HRP will give the state government 30 days to come with a permanent solution to the temple issue.