CHETTIARS, who established the 150-year-old Sri Nagara Thandayuthapani Hindu Temple in Jalan Bukit Jawa, are against Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) unilateral decision to rename Chetty Padang to Jejak Warisan Klang @ Chetty Padang.
Sri Nagara Thandayuthapani Hindu Temple incoming president Dr A. Ramanathan, 75, said MPK must retain the original name as it gives people of all races and cultural backgrounds a sense of identity.
On Oct 28, MPK president Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin told reporters after a full board meeting that the Selangor government wanted the field renamed Jejak Warisan Klang @ Chetty Padang.
“MPK had suggested the new name for the field,” Ramanathan said.
“Historical facts must be set right.
“Half of Chetty Padang was gifted to the British government.”
He said that half of the current 1.34ha field parallel to the temple was gifted to the British during the colonial days to be used as police barracks for Punjabi recruits.
“We must understand that the British requested for the privately-owned land belonging to the Chettiar clan.
“Our people supported the government of that time and gifted half of the land.
“There is a marked difference between land acquisition and it being gifted.
“During that time, part of the land (that was gifted to the British) was used for religious and cultural purposes.
“It was not land acquisition but a gift made for a specific purpose in the best interest of Klang,” he added.
Ramanathan said since the Chettiars had gifted the land, MPK must at least uphold the name.
“It is a classic name. We must retain it to honour the Malay, Chinese and Indian sportsmen and sportswomen of the past, who trained for hours on this field and represented Selangor and Malaysia at sporting events,” he said.
“We cannot compromise on historical facts.
“A majority of the Klang people want MPK to reinstate the Chetty Padang name on the archway at the field’s entrance.
“Keep the two words as it is, do not add other words,” he said.
Current president A. Nagappan, 57, said the people want the name Chetty Padang retained as this would also allow future generations to reconnect and retrace historical events.
“MPK must keep the original name as it gives us a sense of cultural identity,” he said.
Businessman and temple committee member S.M. Subramaniam, 62, said it was time the Chetty Padang name was restored.
“Our voices are being ignored. We cannot have the name mangled, we want the original name,” he added.
Meyappan Muthiah, 73, said the local council must retain the name as most Klang folk have fond memories of the field as it was used for athletics, cricket, hockey and football.
Temple trustee Ganesan Nagappan, 65, agreed that since the field had belonged to the Chettiars so its original name should be retained to reflect Malaysia’s cultural mosaic.
Selangor MCA Youth deputy chief Datuk BK Tan said MPK in its unilateral move had failed ratepayers.“It is disheartening that MPK decided on the new name for Chetty Padang and ignored the people’s voice.
“It is not difficult, just keep the two words.
“It is time MPK improves on its approach in dealing with ratepayers, conduct public engagement to get feedback and allow the people to have a say and not bulldoze with unilateral decisions that cause disharmony,” added Tan.