THE century-old Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman Hindu temple in Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, should be considered a heritage and the land it sits on should be gazetted, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun said.
He said he and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai planned to bring it up in Parliament.
Fong said he would also ap-proach Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for help in bringing the temple committee, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the developer together to sort out this matter and also implement a beautification plan for the temple.
Tan said the Government should consider preserving the 101-year-old temple, provide a special allocation to beautify it and make it a tourist attraction.
Temple president R.A. Balasubra-maniam requested the Govern-ment’s help in gazetting the land, so that renovations could begin on the temple.
“The most important thing here is the land, that is why we are asking the Government to gazette it. Otherwise, in 50 or 100 years, this problem could arise again.
“Only after the land has been gazetted can we start beautifying the temple in sync with its surroundings, and make it one that attracts tourists,” he said.
Earlier this month, DBKL had demolished the back wall of the temple following a court order obtained by the developer of a commercial project next door.
The move sparked a controversy following allegations that City Hall did not follow procedures when removing the statues of deities.
The cleared space, measuring 2.43m, was to be used for building an underground drainage and a footpath.
Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr J. Loga Bala said the drainage had to run through that spot because the surrounding land gradient was higher on the other sides of the building.
“It will not work if they put it elsewhere,” he explained.
The demolished annexe structure was previously a kitchen before being converted to house the statues.
A court order issued on July 5 last year established it as public land falling under the jurisdiction of the Land and Mines department.
“The Land and Mines Department had issued a notice to the temple in June this year,” said Loga.
He stressed that the temple itself would remain. “We will repair the wall and beautify the area once work is completed,” he said.
On complaints that City Hall officers had entered the shrine wearing shoes, Loga said the personnel followed standard operating procedures.
“No statues were broken. We merely carried them and placed them in a safe spot after removing them,” he said.
The temple issue has been going on since 2010.
“We have had 43 discussions, at Cabinet, post-Cabinet and temple committee levels,” said Loga.
DBKL had offered to relocate the temple to a new site in Setapak, but the committee had refused citing its historical significance.