Thursday, April 17, 2008

Malaysian temple loses bid to stop relocation

Temple loses bid to stop relocation

2008/04/17, SEREMBAN, Wed

The High Court today struck out an application by the Sri Maha Muniswara Alyam temple not to relocate the temple and a tree along Jalan Tampin, which are said to be more than 150 years old.

Lead counsel, G. K. Ganesan said the application was struck off on the grounds that the temple committee was not registered and that the temple was in fact a new structure that was built after 1957.

Earlier, in their submissions, counsel had argued that the temple and a tree near it had existed before 1957 and were therefore protected by ancient rites.

"We will file an appeal against the decision. Meanwhile, we urge the devotees to be patient and wait for the decision. The temple committee has agreed to a compromise and have the temple relocated to the back of the tree, but they don't want the tree to be uprooted as they believe that the deity 'Jada Muniswarar' resides there and should not be disturbed," he said.

The matter was heard in chambers before deputy High Court Registrar, Ahmad Sazali Omar, while the state was represented by its legal advisor, Ishak Sahari. Assisting Ganesan were S. Karthigesan, Vinod Sharma and John Fernandez.

Ganesan said the committee had also submitted plans on the proposed relocation of the temple to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and the state legal advisor.

"We will ask the High Court to review the decision. We believe the case should not be struck out as this is a matter of worship and the government should pay heed to religious needs. The fact that Hindus worship deities living in trees dates back to history. We respect the government's decision to widen the road near the temple, but I am sure we can come to a compromise."

Ganesan said the state legal advisor was very co-operative and sensitive to their requests.

Meanwhile, temple committee secretary, K. Kannis said they had applied to register the temple committee two years ago and it was now in its final stages.

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