If Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s definition of temples is anything to go by, not a single Hindu temple could have been built in Malaysia, said the Malaysian Hindu Sangam.

NONE“Because to build a temple according to our religion’s rules, we will need at least five acres of land for all aspects (of the temple) to be considered,” said its president RS Mohan Shan (left).

He said this is to accommodate requirements such as ponds, halls, and the temple itself, however, the government does not allocate land for this.

“The government is not allocating us any land for Hindu temples. Most of our temples are illegally built because we do not get proper land for these thing,” he claimed when contacted.

Mohan was asked to comment on Tengku Adnan’s insistence that the 101-year old Sri Muneswarar Kaliyamman temple, which was partially demolished on Sunday, was actually a "shrine".

NONETengku Adnan (right) claimed this is because it did not meet several requirements for Hindu temples, such as having a water source like rivers and ponds; that it must face east, and that those entering the temple must prostrate.

He also claimed that the demolition was to make way for renovation works to beautify the temple.

Mohan said that while the Hindu Sangam recognises that many Hindu temples are not up to specifications, the federal minister should not have the final word on Hindu affairs.

“I welcome it because he learnt about Hinduism as a Muslim and it is good, but he should not be the authority to decide anything on Hindu rites.

“The decision board should be Hindu Sangam or any (Hindu) religious body,” he said, referring to Tengku Adnan’s claim to have knowledge of Hindu religion.

Takes time to educate on temple rules and guidelines

Mohan added the NGO has issued guidelines on building temples and is in midst of educating the Hindu community to follow the rules and rites relating to Hindu temples, but stressed that the process needed more time.

sri muneswarar temple demolition 101113Even so, he said the demolition should not have taken place because the temple committee, Hindu Sangam, and the Federal Territories Ministry are still in talks regarding the temple’s land dispute with developer Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd.

In a meeting in mid-September, he claimed Deputy Federal Territories Minister Loga Bala Mohan Jaganathan had suggested the temple be rebuilt to accommodate 100 devotees at a time within a 3,000 square feet area.

NONEThis was a compromise between the 5,000 square feet of land that is originally occupies and the over 2,000 square feet that it would be left with if it ceded to Hap Seng’s demands, he said.

A meeting between the temple committee and Loga Bala’s had been fixed for Nov 19 to follow-up on the proposal.

“The issue should be settled this month. Why did they have to go and have the demolition and all this?” he said.

Mohan said the Hindu Sangam will press for the proposal to materialise and for the 3,000 square feet of land to be gazetted as a Hindu temple to prevent a repeat of the demolition.
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