Temple issue could have been solved amicably: Ramasamy

JOHOR BARU: Opposition leaders have expressed sadness and anger over the demolishing of a Hindu temple belonging to the Dewa Shree Sivasakthi Shree Sinnakaruppar Devotees Association which was situated on a plot of private land in Bandar Seri Alam on Jan 11.

DAP deputy secretary-general P. Ramasamy accompanied by Johor Jaya assemblywoman Liow Cai Tung (DAP) and Johor PKR chief Hassan Karim visited the site on today.

Ramasamy when speaking to members of the media said, he will write a letter to ask the Johor state police chief as to why a large deployment of police and FRU personnel was on-site during the demolishing of the 80-year-old temple.

"Is the Police is protecting the developer or the rakyat in this case?" he said.

According to Ramasamy, the matter could have been solved through discussion as there were many alternative ways to resolve the issue.

Liow claimed the state government had failed to protect the temple and the freedom of religion for every citizen which is stated under Federal Constitution.

PKR chief Hassan Karim said, although the landowner had obtained a high court order, the state land office which is controlled by state government still have the administrative power to stop the demolishing of the temple or to offer an alternative solution.

C. Vasanthi, chairperson of the temple said, two statues standing 25 feet and 18 feet high and several smaller statues have been demolished last Thursday.

Sources claimed the land had changed hands several times and the new landowner is reportedly a foreigner.

Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin in a statement said that the Johor State Government regretted the incident and sympathises with what took place.

According to the statement, the state government had offered a new plot of land owned by the State Government as a replacement for the temple in this issue.

However, that proposal was rejected by the temple management, who insisted on staying where they were.

Since 2015, the owner had sent several notices and warnings to the temple management but it is understood that the temple did not cooperate.

The owner then began legal proceedings to obtain a court order bestowing full authority over the plot of land.