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Religion 101: Addressing The Messy Temple Fiasco

morib temple hindu

A Hindu temple is a structure designed to bring Hindus and gods together through worship, sacrifice, and devotion. It is also known as mandir, devasthana, pura, gudi, kovil, kovilamu, or ambalam in various languages. A Hindu temple represents the cosmos and the essence of life and symbolizes dharma, artha, kama, moksha, and karma.

Place of Worship & Politics

One from Hindraf

HINDRAF hereby calls on the Selangor Government to stop playing politics and mislead the people and immediately gazette all places of worships and provide land and funding for the purposes of erection of places of worships belonging to Hindus and non-Muslims.

Another from MPKapar

It shows he is serious and committed in upholding the rights of all Human Being. When conveying this message at Kulai last night he says “I’m not like other leaders holding on position despite knowing Rakyat’s rejection”

Well, it is not clear whether Manikavasagam is resigning from his post because of the fiasco with the Hindu temple and what he meant by “I’m not like other leaders holding on position despite knowing Rakyat’s rejection”. Hopefully, things will get clearer in the next few days and hopefully, it has nothing to do with another politician looking for a better deal for himself. Let’s wait this out until Manikavasagam clears the air for all (new updates here).

Facts Of Temples In Selangor

Let’s go back to the recent demolishment of Hindu places of worship or shrines as reported in some places. The blame game has started and no one seems to be resolving the real issues now. Let’s get some facts straight, shall we (you may disagree on some of it but that’s up to you)?

Fact 1 – There are way too many Hindu places of worship in some places (a good example: Puchong – in a “small” place, there are 7 places of worship (big, small, half done, etc). Irregardless of it’s past, it is high-time these places of worship merge and consolidated into one)

Fact 2 – There has not been much effort made in registration of these places of worship (some renovated from some small shrine but renovation “abandoned” due to lack of fund & lack of directions – it ends up looking ugly too)

Fact 3 – After some obscurity, MIC seems to have found something to hold back against the Pakatan Rakyat Government (damn, they must have prayed hard for something like this to come by to be relevant again). Where were they when Khir Toyo’s administration were busy demolishing temples?

Fact 4 – There has been some confusion among the PR State officials as to what really happened? Was the demolishment of places of worship made in defiance against the Selangor Government’s order by MPAJ? Or self demolishment by the committee for some renovation work? It would be much better if the officials have checked out the facts before opening their mouths to the media.

Fact 5 – Who need to be managing the issue of places of worship is not clear. What is the role of Hindu Sangam in managing the issue of registration, classification and management of Hindu places of worship in Malaysia? And if they are not empowered to manage, then who can? Some “All Malaysia Hindu Temple Association” (if there is one)?

Demolishment of religious places started to turn out as a big joke even after the PR Government came to power. One shrine/place of worship was demolished and everyone started to blame each other. I agree with Hindraf – everyone must stop playing politics on the temple issue and places of worship must be registered & gazetted. But I won’t be too quick to agree with their request “to provide land and funding”. Hello brother, things are not as forward as they seem to be.

Resolution For Temple Issues

The Government and the relevant NGOs should start working on the real issue. There are a couple of steps they can take (if they have not done so):-

Step 1

Register all pla ces of worshipand proper classify them into large, medium and small places of worship. Just how many places of worship are there in Selangor or in other states – anyone has the right figure? And how many of it is illegal? When it comes to registration of places of worship, the temple committee cannot act ignorant and wait until it is too late – there is no way the Government is going to know each and every temple before registration.

The commitee members must be proactive to get their places of worship registered and ensure the existence and future expansion  of the temple is done by the book. So that if there is any dispute in future, the temple will have a stronger case to fall back to.

Step 2

Verify the number of years the temple has been in existence – we cannot afford to have a temple sprouting out every time someone decides to worship different deities. 100 years old temples on the hand should be relooked from the angle of preservation of heritage and tourism as well

Step 3

Verify the status of land where the temple is situated – this is one of the biggest issue in the past – it’s funny how 100 years old temples are “overlooked” by some officials and reclassify them as “squatters”. It is not like the temples been hidden somewhere for the past 99 years and decide to pop up in recent years!

Step 4

If the temple is “wrongly” situated in the land, then what’s next? Make a study and decide whether the status of the land need to be changed to accomodate this temple OR whether the temple need to be demolished and merged with another temple in the same area OR relocated with a proper documents and better facilities.

Step 5

If demolishment is really, really needed, then define what would be the right way of doing it? High-handed tactics must be strictly avoided and a closer working with the devotees, temple committee and representatives from the State and NGOs must be done

Step 6

Proper guidelines must be drawn out for future development. The existence of legal and registered temples must be acknowledged and the developer needs to revise the development layout plan that takes these temples into consideration. No more having major highway or future commercial development running in the middle of 100 years old temples

The above is just a few of the many steps that both the Government and the temples can take to ensure no future problem occurs. When it comes to religion, some Malaysians are way too sensitive and given the “wrong” spark, they will start acting like morons.

Final Say

Some issues remain unresolved and until and unless these issues are resolved, we Hindus cannot simply go out shouting crying foul every time a temple is demolished. There are failures on our part too – when we are going to acknowledge them and start working to resolve them?

Read Also

Elizabeth Wong’s take on the issue

MPAJ’s Deputy YDP Suspended


2 thoughts on “Religion 101: Addressing The Messy Temple Fiasco”

  1. a) temple demolition during BN administration,there was no TV and press coverage.1 temple demolished now-prompt coverage
    b) MIC could not stop previous demolitions,can the rebranded MIC do it now ha ha ha
    c) Few indians demonstrators mainly handpicked MIC members shouting slogans – i did not see them demonstrating during previous demolitions.
    d) maika shares -MIC demolished indians livelihhod
    bandar utama land – Samy demolished the tamil school before erecting
    we still support PR

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