Cave monastery near Chemor fears eviction

The century-old Sakyamuni Caves Monastery at Gunung Kanthan near Chemor. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

THE Dhamma Sakyamuni Caves Monastery at Gunung Kanthan, near Chemor, hopes that the Perak government will intervene and prevent the monastery from being evicted from the land.

Monastery abbot Chiong Sai Tin said he hoped the state would gazette the hill and monastery as heritage and religious sites.

“We have been here for three generations and it is a special place for us.

“We have also pledged to preserve the land, ” he told reporters during a press conference held by Malim Nawar assemblyman Leong Cheok Keng at the temple.

“We want to be able to continue our teachings for our future generations.

“The hill is priceless. We hope Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad will help us resolve this matter, ” he added.

The century-old Buddhist temple, located on a 2.02ha piece of land, is facing the possibility of eviction.

Chiong said it had asked the state government in 2013 to revoke the previous landowner’s licence to carry out a quarry project.

“In 2015, we were assured that the licence, which was to expire in October 2020, would not be renewed by the state, ” he said.

“However, in early 2020, the land changed ownership and that was when the licence was extended for another 30 years, ” Chiong highlighted.

Leong said he would raise the matter at the state assembly sitting, which was set to be held on Aug 25.

“I have contacted state public facility, infrastructure, agriculture and plantation committee chairman Datuk Abdul Yunus Jamhari about it.

“Yunus is of the impression that the current landowner is still discussing the matter with the monastery, ” said Leong.

“But based on what Chiong has told me, no one approached the monastery.

“I will also contact the state government to see how we can help protect and gazette the monastery, ” he added.

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