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Decision to shift Hindu temple in Malaysian city shelved

Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009 - 13:19

Kuala Lumpur: Authorities in Malaysia`s Selangor state have shelved the decision to relocate a 150-year-old Hindu temple following protests last month. During one of the protests, a severed cow head was displayed.
Cow is deemed sacred by Hindus who number nearly 1.5 million and the incident caused concerns in the Malaysian government that prides itself on the multi-racial nature of its society.

T Sugumaran, treasurer of the Sri Maha Mariamman temple, said Section 23 locality, where the government had decided to relocate the shrine, was the best location but he "understood the pressures faced by the state government in coming to a decision", New Straits Times said on Monday.

He said Hindu Sangam had also promised to carry out further discussions with relevant parties to help find a solution to the problem.

The community has opposed moves to cluster shrines.

The temple authorities had previously rejected a proposal to move the temple to an enclave in Section 18, where there would be six other places of worship.
The plan to relocate six Hindu temples and a Sikh temple to the enclave was described as ludicrous.

Sugumaran said it had been accepted under duress in 2006 and should be abandoned.

Meanwhile, the police have completed their investigation into the August 28 cow`s head incident.

Federal Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the investigation paper had been submitted to the Attorney-General`s chambers.

"I would like to reiterate that the investigation is only on the cow`s head incident, not on the residents` protest regarding the relocation of the Hindu temple in the area," the web site of New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

He sought to steer clear of the political aspects of the controversy.

"The residents` protest on the relocation of the temple is something that cuts across political boundaries as there are UMNO, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and PAS members at the protest," Hussein said.

UMNO -- United National Malay Organisation -- is the largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional, while PAS is the Pan-Islamic Malay Party that belongs to Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition alliance that rules Selangor state.

Hussein said the government had taken action based on the country`s laws.

"Our actions have always based on justice. We have never been biased and will take action against those guilty regardless of their race, religion or political belief," he said.


First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009 - 13:19
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