Raising a stink: An aerial view of the swampy land reserved for temples and churches near the sewage ponds in Mak Mandin, Butterworth.
GEORGE TOWN: Several non-Muslim religious groups expressed their reservations over the state government’s offer of land to build churches and temples, saying the plots offered were next to a huge sewage plant.
They claimed the 32 plots were on swampy land behind three sewage ponds in the Mak Mandin sewage treatment plant.
Penang Hindu Association deputy president P. Murugiah said the ponds, measuring 12ha, were separated from the plots only by the embankments and metal sheet fencing.
“The stench alone will be enough to put off any meditation and prayer. Even if you give us the land for free, I don’t think we want our temples there,” he said.
He suggested that the state instead build orphanages, old folks homes and homes for single mothers there.
“The land is next to the Mak Mandin Industrial Estate with dozens of factories for single mothers to find employment,” he added.
Penang Teong Guan Association president Datuk Lim Yam Koi said the state should reveal the prices offered for the 32 lots.
“Temple groups that desperately need land but cannot afford the price should get the lots for free.
“But land is hard to find in Penang, so we should not be critical of religious groups which take up the offer,” Yam Koi said.
Penang feng shui master Mak Foo Wengg was alarmed by the potential clash of elements.
“Temples and churches are principally of the fire element. The water element from the sewage ponds and Sungai Prai will clash explosively with them and this can create a disaster,” he added.
State executive councillor Lim Hock Seng said the facility in question were oxidation ponds and that Indah Water Konsortium planned to build a brick wall around it.
“It’s not a septic tank. The ponds are big and in the open. There are lots of people living in the flats nearby without any problems,” he said.