THE Mahindarama Buddhist Association in Kampar Road, which is planning a RM4 million meditation centre in Lorong Hijau, Jelutong, hopes the land conversion fee of RM983,000 would be waived by the Penang Municipal Council.
Association chairman Kung Kok Chye said the high conversion fee would be a burden to the association as the centre would be built with public funds.
“We wrote to the council early this month appealing for a waiver of the fee to convert the land from housing to institution status but we didn’t receive a favourable reply,” Kung said during the lotus candle lighting ceremony for Chinese New Year at the Mahindarama Buddhist Temple in Kampar Road on Wednesday.
The association has been running free medical clinics under the Amata Free Medical and Diabetic Centre, and Mitta Life Cancer Counselling Centre at the temple in Kampar Road.
“It also holds community service and religious classes there.
“The number of people seeking our services has grown over the years and the 98-year-old temple is bursting at its seams, thus the new building is being planned to accommodate more people,” he said.
The four-storey centre would be built on a 3,066sq metre plot.
“It will house a 60-bay car park, shrine hall for 300 people, dormitories for yogis and monks, administration offices, a library, a meeting room and a floor for meditation,” said Kung.
“We will be able to provide better service with the completion of the building in two years.
“However, we can only proceed if the approval for the waiver is given by the council,” Kung said.
He added that the association had to date raised RM700,000 towards the building fund and was confident of reaching the RM4 million needed.
State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, when contacted, said he was unaware of the appeal but would check with the council before commenting further on the issue.
At the lighting ceremony, chief monk Venerable E. Indaratana Maha Thero led monks and devotees to light up the 6,360 lotus candles simultaneously.
Earlier, about 100 devotees joined in the bodhi pooja where offerings were given to the Bodhi Tree followed by chanting of parittas (verses from scriptures to safeguard against dangers).