Temple at risk of being demolished

Sri Maha Muniswarar temple in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya, may have to make way for a development project. — Photos: IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

DEVOTEES of a 73-year-old temple in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya, are appealing to the state government to look into their plight as their temple might be demolished for a development project.

Sri Maha Muniswarar temple chairman Sivakumar Nachinan said the house of worship in Kampung Arshat, which sits on state government land, had been asked by Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) to make way for an upcoming housing project.

“We want the temple to remain on the 929sq m land, as it is not within the development plan for the project. The land is 8.9ha but the new development will only use 8.045ha and does not involve our temple land,” he said.

“If that is not possible, the temple committee is requesting that the developer give us alternative land in Petaling Jaya and bear the construction cost, or provide RM3.5mil in compensation for the temple to buy its own land.”

Sivakumar said the temple committee had been in discussion with PKNS and the Selangor Socio-economic Empowerment, Development and Caring Government Committee chairman V. Ganabatirau to resolve the issue since 2015.

“We were made to understand that any temple older than 50 years should be given land before it is relocated.

“Our meetings with PKNS have not been fruitful as a new person is assigned to negotiate with the temple committee each time a meeting is held.

“During the last meeting in April 2016, PKNS offered only a RM30,000 compensation without any alternative land.

In June last year, Sivakumar said the temple committee found out that PKNS had appointed a company but it was unclear if it was the developer or contractor for the project.

“This came as a surprise to us as we were still trying to resolve the temple relocation issue,” he said.

“The appointed company had engaged an individual as a ‘security guard manager’ for the project, but we think this person is an agent and not their employee.

“We lodged a police report on May 20 at the Sungai Way police station when this person’s messages and calls became threatening,” said Sivakumar.

He said the committee had sent a letter to Ganabatirau on May 23 seeking his assistance.

“We hope to resolve the matter amicably. We will also seek Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari’s assistance.”

When contacted, PKNS corporate communications manager Ishak Hashim said the temple was located within the project site.

“Kuil Sri Maha Muniswarar was built without permission on PKNS-owned land and is located within the 8.045ha project site.

“PKNS has handed over the project site to Melati Ehsan (M) Sdn Bhd to be developed.

“The company is responsible for managing all matters in the area and has appointed security personnel to take care of the site.”

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