KUALA LUMPUR: Hindu devotees from Lembah Pantai here staged a protest against the planned demolition of their place of worship, the Sri Val Jadha Muneeswarar Temple, by a property developer.
The protesters, numbering about 50, said there was only one temple to serve the Hindu community in Pantai Dalam, and its committee had received an eviction notice from the developer who wants to turn the place into a high-end residential area.
Joining the protesters was Lembah Pantai Umno chairman Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin, who asked the developer to negotiate with the temple committee members.
"I am asking the developer to stop the demolition, or if they intend to go ahead, I suggest they help bear the cost of relocating the temple to another location in the vicinity of the community," Raja Nong Chik said to reporters.
"Places of worship should be (protected), and it is best for both parties to have a win-win situation with regard to the issue surrounding the temple," he added.
Raja Nong Chik said the developer should keep their promise to provide a place for relocation.
"It is their responsibility to relocate the temple and they should also bear the cost to develop the temple," he added.
The temple, built in the 1960s, has been relocated several times. It has occupied the present location for about 20 years.
Temple committee head S. Ilam said the notice of eviction was given two weeks ago, but a press conference on the matter was delayed because the developer promised to have a discussion.
"We waited for them. Unfortunately they did not respond to us," he said.
It is learnt that the land is owned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the developer had bought it supposedly to build affordable houses.
But Raja Nong Chik said that only part of the 100,000 sq ft (0.9 hectare) land would be for affordable housing, and the rest will be developed as a high-end residential area. -- BERNAMA