Temples spared for now

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4, 2014): The management of the two Chinese temples in Kampung Kasipillay, off Jalan Ipoh, that were slated for partial demolition today are breathing a sigh of relief as no action was taken by the Federal Territory Land and Mines Department at the appointed hour.

At 9.30am, there was no sign of the officials who had served notice on the management of Choo Sing Tong Temple and Shan Ling Gong Temple.

A special "Nine-Dragon" wall and a fish pond at Choo Sing Tong Temple, and a caretaker's living quarters which houses a shrine at its subsidiary, the Shan Ling Gong Temple, had been slated for demolition as the structures were said to be sitting on government reserve land, according to the demolition notice.

Choo Sing Tong Temple Committee secretary-general Yap Eng Hoe said the temple was relocated from Jalan Pekeliling Lama, where it was first built in 1954, to its current location in 1975, with the government granting it three plots of land.

The documents, dated Sept 6, 1975, have been framed and are displayed at the temple committee office.

They show that the structures slated to be demolished are well within the temple boundaries.

"We have been given permission to use the land and they have not consulted us before the notice (of demolition) was issued. They can't just walk in and tear them (the structures) down," Yap said.

The Nine-Dragon wall and fish pond had cost between RM200,000 and RM300,000 to build.

Yap, who has held the post for more than 40 years, said the structures were crafted by artists from China and bears cultural significance to Chinese mythology.

He said a letter of appeal was sent to the Land and Mines Department on Jan 22 and, to his knowledge, there has been no response so far.

Shan Ling Gong Temple caretaker Chan Yuh Peng similarly said the authorities did not notify her before issuing the notice.

"They just came and pasted the notices on the wall without handing it to us personally or informing us that we have been served," said the caretaker, who has been living at the premises for nearly 20 years. We never had any problems before, why is it 'illegal' now? We will not budge from this place and will fight to keep it," Chan said.

KL Welfare Association Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Chan Kim Leong has offered to help investigate the situation.