THE Federal Government has allocated about RM4.2mil to help 1,934 Hindu temples nationwide that have seen a drop in their income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan said the allocation was approved through the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) following pleas from temples that faced challenges in managing their operations.
“The allocation will only be given to temples that are registered with the Registrar of Societies.
“Each temple is allocated between RM1,800 and RM2,600, depending on size and location.
“Mitra has channelled the money to 310 temples nationwide, while the rest will receive the allocation through us, ” said Mohan.
He added that MHS started channelling the allocations to the temples this month and hoped the task would be completed by the end of March.
Mohan was speaking to reporters after presenting the funds at the Arulmigu Sri Balasubramaniar temple in Skudai.
“There are 385 registered temples in Johor. We will channel the funds to 250 temples as the rest have received the allocation directly through Mitra, ” he said.
Mohan added that the allocation was meant to help temples pay their utility bills and buy prayer items.
“We have come across temples that were unable to pay their electricity bills for at least seven months due to loss of income as they could not perform wedding ceremonies and had to limit the number of devotees, ” he said.
Mohan added that the temples were receiving less funds from the public because of the pandemic.
It would take between RM3,000 and RM30,000 for a temple to cover its basic operations, including bills for utilities, essentials and allowances for priests and workers.
One temple chairman who received the money, T. Naganathan, 48, said it would help cover the cost of running the temple for about a month.
“Most of our committee members had to fork out their own money to pay for utilities and allowances, ” he said.
Another temple chairman V. Achuthan Krishnan, 62, hoped the government would allow temples to host wedding ceremonies with standard operating procedures in place.
“This will allow us to cover our operational costs, ” he said, adding that they were adhering to the existing SOP strictly.