‘Relocation of RiBi houses of worship requires consensus’

ANY move to relocate Non-Islamic Houses of Worship (RiBi) will involve a thorough discussion and cannot be done forcefully, said Penang Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo.

“I chair the RiBi committee handling land and funds to renovate, repair or build new RiBis, and if there is a request for them to move, no action will be taken until it comes to my committee.

“We will always try to strike a balance between all the parties because it is very sensitive.

“And if there is a need to move, it will be done with the consensus of all parties,” he said at a press conference after launching the Green Buildings and GBI Certification seminar.

He added that there was no RiBi-related untoward incidents since he became a state excutive councillor in 2013.

Jagdeep was referring to the statement by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin on Sunday that the ministry was drawing up a law to make it compulsory to get approval to build any house of worship.

She said an exercise would be carried out to register existing houses of worship and their location during the opening of the 25th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce (DPIM).

“If they are located at sites that do not belong to them, we will advise them to move to other locations,” she said.

Jagdeep said Penang would likely have to follow if it was a national policy.

“Let us see the mechanism first. In relation to building RiBi or against any RiBi, technically they have to apply to my committee,” he said.

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