Friday, December 1, 2006

100-YEAR-OLD HINDU TEMPLE IN MALAYSIA RAZED

Kuala Lumpur: A 100-year-old Hindu temple in Malaysia has been demolished following a court order. The deities will move to a new site provided by the authorities. Contractors appointed by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) bulldozed the Sri Muthu Mariamman temple Thursday at Skudia in Johor in southern Malaysia after a court order Tuesday seeking vacation of the temple premises, reported the New Straits Times Friday.
The temple was situated at the Uniroyal Linden Estate, a rubber plantation that was home to around 1,000 families. UTM, a public university with its main campus in Skudai, had first made claims on the plantation in 1992. Prior to that, in 1975, Malaysia's education ministry had bought off the plantation land for UTM.
Since 1992, there have been various attempts to save the temple. Help was sought from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the premier political party representing the Indian community in Malaysia, and the Johor state government. Ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus, comprise around eight percent of Malaysia's total population of around 24 million.
The New Straits Times report quoted temple president A. Subramaniam as saying that his family had been looking after the temple for three generations."Soon after the sale of the plantation land to UTM in 1975, most menfolk lost their jobs and subsequently in 1987 UTM asked us to move out of our quarters," he told the newspaper.
"We were lucky to obtain low-cost houses through MIC."Temple authorities are planning to move the deities to another location provided by the Johor state government.A UTM lawyer told the dialy on condition of anonymity that the demolition process was carried out smoothly and there were no protests or demonstrations.Meanwhile, Malaysian Hindu Sangam president A. Vaithilingam has condemned the demolition. "While it is true the education ministry acquired the land for UTM, the authorities should have been fully aware that the old temple existed there," he said in a statement.

48 comments:

Ramaswamy said...

Very sad story. But at least 80% of the fault lies with the Malaysian Tamils who practice a "village hinduism", quite distinct from the Hinduism of the "north Indians" who always buy the land first, get proper planning approval and then build. Why only 80% fault? you ask. Well, most Malaysian Tamils have poor education and suffer from many social problems including poverty. This is really a shame in a wealthy country like Malaysia where they form some 8% of the population. Their leadership (in the MIC) allegedly neglects them but because many Malaysian Tamils have a Dalit(Harijan) background, they are not very assertive. Organisational skills are also rather limited when compared with others. A miniscule number of Sikhs in Kuantan have been able to build a multi-million dollar Gurdwara in the heart of the city, all with proper planning and foresight. Malaysian Tamils need a total change in their outlook if they are to climb out of their misery.

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