A REQUEST will be made for the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur to obtain emergency funding for repair work on a collapsed slope that damaged a residential property nearby.
Deputy National Unity Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said his ministry would fast-track a special request of RM300,000 in repair funds for the temple, where a landslide occurred on the left side of the premises last October.
Nearby residents had to be evacuated after mudflow entered the lower floor of an apartment block.
“The government has special funding for non-Muslim houses of worship to carry out repairs and maintenance.
“The amount for each application is limited to RM50,000 or RM100,000 depending on the scope of the job for the purpose of repairs, maintenance, emergency and civil work.
“And we make an exception for any emergency work or those caused by a natural disaster that threatens the safety of the people,” he said after a visit to the temple and the landslide site on Monday.
Also present was Datuk Dr Tang Chai Yoong, who is president of Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association, which manages the temple.
Ti said the RM300,000 sought by the temple was above the usual ceiling amount for government funding.
“That is why I decided to have this visit with the relevant stakeholders to see if an exception can be made,” he said, adding that the request for temple funding would be treated as an emergency since it had threatened the safety of some residents.
Ti said the outcome would be finalised later when the engineer handling the temple’s case, and who was diagnosed with Covid-19, had fully recovered.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong had announced in May that non-Muslim houses of worship could start applying for government funding for repairs and maintenance.
He said National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique had personally relayed the good news to him.
Ti explained that the funding allowed for different types of work – civil work capped at RM100,000 to repair the building structure, tiles, ceiling, walls, drains and painting works; electrical repair work capped at RM50,000 such as wiring, fuse box, lighting, fans and closed-circuit television camera; and engineering work capped at RM50,000 such as air-conditioning, lift and water pump system.
Ti noted that the government had also loosened the criteria for applications to enable more houses of worship to apply.
“A house of worship that is under the management of an association may not be registered under the Registrar of Societies.
“But as long as the managing association is registered, it can also apply for this funding,” he said.
He also called on houses of worship with land title issues to apply for a change in land status at the District Office.
“We will consider their application for the funding as long as they have made an application to switch their land titles.
“This is part of our effort to instil a systematic approach with proper governance in assisting non- Muslim places of worship in the country,” he said.
Ti also said the funding had no closing date for applications as it was a continuous initiative.
“We will process and approve the assistance continuously until the funds are fully disbursed,” he added.