Kuala Lumpur: After facing opposition from Muslim residents over relocation of a 150-year-old Hindu temple to their area, a state government in Malaysia on Monday said it has identified a `more suitable site` for building the Sri Maha Mariamman Shrine.
The Selangor state government said that the new site was also in Section 23 but was more strategic and located 100 metres from the original relocation site and 400 metres from the residential area.
Residents of Section 23 of Shah Alam neighbourhood had been protesting against the relocation of 150-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman Shrine to their area. Ten days back they had marched to the state secretariat to oppose the relocation. The group acted in a manner seen as hurtful by the minority ethnic Indians.
The Selangor government, which is controlled by the opposition party, has said it would discuss the matter with the temple committee and look for an amicable solution acceptable to all parties, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hindu Sangam Council national president RS Mohan Shan said yesterday that Hindus may face a tough time finding locations to build their temples if incidents like the fracas that took place in Section 23 Shah Alam continued, local daily Star said.
In Klang, Malaysian Indian Welfare Association (PKIM) chairman A Prakash asked the police to arrest and charge those responsible for the protest.
Prakash said the incident was created by only a small group of people who had no respect for the sensitivities of other religions, and it did not reflect on the entire Muslim community.
"It is only a group of people who are trying to provoke the Indians deliberately and it has to be stopped immediately," Star quoted him as saying.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein said the protest against the temple relocation had surpassed political considerations because it involved members of the Opposition as well as the ruling Barisan Nasional.
He said the Home Ministry knew the numbers of the opposition as well as ruling party members involved in the protest and would divulge the information when the time was right.
"It is a localised issue," he was quoted by Star as saying. He added that the protest was not appropriate and the police would take action against those involved, national news agency Bernama said.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister`s Department Koh Tsu Koon felt that the police should have a standard procedure to deal with public protests to show it was consistent and fair in its actions.
Koh said, people had started questioning why the Section 23 protesters were not arrested on the spot during the demonstration. Sixteen people were arrested on Saturday for carrying out a candlelight vigil to protest against the act committed by the group, which had hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.