Fund to buy back temple land hits RM2mil

SUBANG JAYA: The fund set up to buy the land where the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is located – the scene of violent riots last week – has reached RM2mil.

Businessman Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who pledged RM500,000 to kick off the fund, said he was confident that the Philippines-based Ayala Corpo­ra­tion, which ultimately owns the land, would do all it could to help return the land to the temple.

“They are the top corporation in the Philippines and they are good and charitable people. I’m sure they will come to a good decision.

“They may donate the land altogether to the temple. Even if they can’t due to constraints of being a public-listed company, they may give a big discount for us to buy the land back,” he said.

Asked how much would be needed to buy back the land, he said a valuation had not been carried out yet.

“We will see what Ayala Corpo­ration decides and in the meantime, let’s all work together to bring the peace back to our great country,” he told reporters after visiting the temple with Water, Land and Natural Resources Minis­ter Dr Xavier Jayakumar yesterday.

Thanking Tan for his contribution in figuring out a solution, Dr Xavier said it was a good idea as the Selangor government had no power to take back the land as there was a court agreement in place that both parties had signed.

All parties, including the state and federal governments, were working closely to find an amicable solution, he added.

Last week, a group of men had stormed into the temple. Scuffles between the group and devotees over the temple’s relocation later led to riots.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin later revealed that the men had been hired by the developer’s lawyers and paid between RM150 and RM300 to take control of the area.

The developer One City Develop­ment Sdn Bhd, which is owned by Ayala Corporation via Malaysian company MCT Bhd, has denied the allegation.

Several people were injured in the incident, including fireman Mu­­hammad Adib Mohd Kassim who was admitted to the National Heart Institute with critical chest wounds.

The 0.4ha temple land is said to be valued between RM14.37mil and RM15.33mil.

Tan, along with prominent businessman Tan Sri David Kong, founder and executive chairman of death care service provider Nirvana Asia Ltd, and Tan Sri Barry Goh, who previously headed MCT Bhd, have all donated RM500,000 each to the fund.

Those who wish to donate to the fund can make a cheque payable to Sun Media Corporation Sdn Bhd with the words Save Seafield Temple written on the back to be sent to Lot 6, Jalan 51/217, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Donations can also be made via eBanking to Sun Media Corporation Sdn Bhd at Maybank account no 5081 7770 0420, with the words Save Seafield Temple entered into the additional info/notes section or similar.