Temple task force: Crowdfunding effort must not set a precedent

SHAH ALAM: The Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple task force welcomes Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s crowdfunding effort to buy the temple land but warns that it must not be a precedent for other temples facing a similar fate.

“We leave it to him (Tan) on the crowdfunding effort. But it should not set the wrong precedent where the land is funded (by the public) to pay the developer.

“Many temples are affected. We don’t want the developers to have the upper hand,” task force chairman S. Ramaji said during a press conference at the temple here.

However, another task force member, Datuk A. Chandrakumanan, said the state government should take up the responsibility of addressing temple ground matters.

“We don’t want to be part of that (crowdfunding). We are not interes­ted until the land is gazetted. What we want is to retain the temple,” he said, adding that they were not against Tan’s move.

Tan, who is Berjaya Group exe­cu­tive chairman, earlier said the fund set up to buy the land on which the temple sits had hit RM2mil.

The tycoon said it would be the best way to ensure the t,emple remained there.

Meanwhile, the task force claimed that some of the temple’s devotees were arrested by police although they were innocent.

“There were 18 devotees arrested. Some were just devotees here and were not involved in the riot. Their family members have complained to us,” he said.

“Some devotees dared not step forward and record their statements as they were afraid they might be arrested,” he added.

The task force also called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the temple riot.

“With an RCI, the investigation will go beyond the one conducted by the police,” said Chandra­ku­manan, adding that the temple was now operating as usual.

“Security is tight. Police officers are still on standby,” he added.

The temple attack by a group of thugs in the early hours of Nov 26 led to a riot. Several people were hurt and vehicles were burnt.

It was reported earlier that the police detained 83 individuals to assist with the investigations.

A special team from Bukit Aman is to help Selangor police track down individuals responsible for the riot that resulted in property damage and also injuries.

Among the injured was fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.