Selangor exco apologises for ‘oversight’ in guidelines for non-Muslim worship places

BY RAM ANAND
Selangor executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim has apologised for an ‘oversight’ in the state’s manual that placed restrictions on non-Muslim places of worship. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Selangor executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim has apologised for an “oversight” in the state’s Manual Guide and State Planning Standards concerning restrictions placed on non-Muslim places of worship.

In a statement, Teng also said that he would request the state executive council meeting this week to defer the implementation of parts in the manual that increases restrictions on new non-Muslim places of worship.

“I apologise for not thoroughly checking the manual before it was presented before the state executive council meeting,” he said in the statement sent to Malay Mail Online.

Teng said that he had suggested several amendments to the Selangor state planning department regarding the manual last year – including issues about the size of Selangorku homes, parking spots, public transportation manual, and also the restrictions on new non-Muslim places of worship.

“I believe that the amendment I requested regarding the non-Muslim places of worship had dropped out altogether in the review,” he added.

The manual was presented to the state executive council in September last year.

The new manual, which is the third edition of the guideline, includes a recommendation that non-Muslim places of worship should not be built within 50m of a home owned by Muslims and that planned new non-Muslim places of worship in areas with a multi-racial makeup require the consent of residents within a 200m radius.

There are also height restrictions and also restriction that non-Muslim places of worship cannot be built near commercial areas.

Teng said that the Selangor state government respects “religious and cultural diversity in the state.”

“The Selangor state government regrets wild allegations that we are discriminating against non-Muslim religions,” he said.

Teng also said that discussions will be held with non-Muslim religious organisations in the state regarding the restrictions in the guideline.

“The necessary action will be taken after discussing with all parties,” he said.