Facing the bulldozers

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 3, 2014): Today is D-Day for the 60-year-old Choo Sing Tong temple in Kampung Kasipillay, off Jalan Ipoh: its officials must vacate the premises to allow the authorities to demolish some structures on the temple ground.

Following a notice from the authorities, a mural wall, fish pond and the adjacent caretaker's home that houses a shrine will have to be torn down.

While the temple officials claim that the Kuala Lumpur Land and Mine Department only wants to demolish these structures, the letter from the department on Jan 21, orders temple officials to vacate their premises by 9.45am today for demolition work to be carried out.

The notice also stated that the structures, including the caretaker house-cum-shrine, which is called Persatuan Penganut Dewa Shan Ling Gong, are sitting on government reserve land.

It is learnt that department officers came to the area on Jan 21 and put up a site clearing notice.

Both temples are registered with the government.

According to the department, the authorities will not be held responsible for damage to property if the premises are not vacated by the stipulated time.

Temple officials, meanwhile, refused to comment as only the temple committee president is allowed to make official statements.

It is understood that the temple officials want the authorities to reconsider the move, especially since today is the fifth day of Chinese New Year, traditionally regarded as the beginning of spring.

The well-known temple was built in 1954 and now features a Nine-Dragon Wall with a fish pond at its base. The wall, crafted by artisans from China, is the very same wall slated for demolition.

Attached to the temple is the caretaker's quarters, which contains a shrine.

News of the demolition notice has been prominently circulated in the social media and drew the ire of the Chinese community which construed the move as a show of disrespect for the Lunar New Year.