Kepong Church given 14 days to move out or face demolition

Committee of the Chinese Methodist Church Kepong showing the building plans they submitted to DBKL for land conversion exercise, as well the two eviction notices they received.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Chinese Methodist Church Kepong has been slapped with a second eviction notice from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and have been given 14 days to move out or "face demolition".

The notices dated Sep 19, 2013 and Feb 4 this year stated that the church, located in Taman Sri Bintang, had violated Section 26 of the Federal Territories (Planning) Act 1982 for changing the land use from institutional centres (kindergarten) and to places of worship (church) without a Development Order.

Failure to evict before the deadline will result in a fine of no more than RM50,000, and RM500 for each day it is delayed.

Pastor-in-charge Kok Chin Ngin said the committee had applied for land use change with DBKL after they received the first notice, and expressed surprise that the second eviction notice stating the same reasons was issued.

"We hope DBKL can give us an extension to complete the land use change exercise.

"About 800 worshippers come to our church on a regular basis. If they seal or demolish the building, where are they supposed to go to?" Kok told The Star on Wednesday.

He added that the church had served the community through various activities from its current premises since the year 2000.

He said the church had also engaged Rela personnel to watch over the area around its premises, therefore boosting the area's security.

"If the authorities do not give us an extension within these six days, we do not know what to do. We will continue praying for the best," he said.

The church has been open since 1984, when it was based in a housing estate in Kepong. It moved to the current site when the number of worshippers increased.

Local Conference Executive Committee chairman Paul Ong said the church had, through Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor's office, managed to obtain an extension from DBKL within 14 days after the first eviction notice was issued.

He said the church had engaged a DBKL-approved architect to work on the building plan and apply for the conversion.

"DBKL then responded by saying that some changes needed to be made to the plan, but the architect was overseas. DBKL then held another meeting and the second eviction notice was issued," he explained.

"We have also sought the help of the FT Ministry's non-Muslim places of worship special committee to get an extension from DBKL to complete the conversion exercise," he added.

Another committee member, Richard Lim, said the land was bought in 1997 and the application to use the land for a multi-purpose hall and kindergarten was approved in 1998.

"We had planned to build a kindergarten within the compound, but shelved the plan because there were already many such facilities in the area," he added.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, when contacted, said he had directed officers to check on the matter and would release a statement later.


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