Monday, December 04, 2006

Taoist Temple demolished

Its not just the Catholics and Christians who are 'persecuted' in Malaysia. Other non-Muslim folks have it hard too.

Recently, a Taoist temple was demolished in Penang under some procedural excuse. You can see the enforcement officers carting away the Taoist altar with the idols still on top.

Of course, this was done with the sanction of the Malay Muslim Deputy Chief Minister and the Malay Muslim chief of the Municipal Council and enforcement officers.
The temple was demolished even though 2 non-Muslim State Executive Councillors met and had an agreement with the Municipal Council Council Chief for a stay. But the agreement was ignored and the temple demolished anyway. The Chinese Chief Minister was and is powerless to do anything about it.

Well to paraphrase, we non-Muslims had better all hang together or we'll surely hang separately.

Here are the relevant news stories:

Report lodged against council

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A police report has been lodged against the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) over the demolition of a Taoist temple in Jalan Maju here.

Tou Mu Kung temple vice-chairman Ang Sum Kee said the temple committee held an emergency meeting yesterday morning and decided to lodge a police report.

“We are disappointed with the council for sending its enforcement team to demolish the temple building without waiting for the state executive council to discuss the matter at its meeting this Wednesday,” he said.

Temple demolition to be raised at state exco meeting

The case of the recent demolition of Tou Mu Kung temple by Seberang Prai Muncipal Council will be raised at the Penang State Executive Council meeting tomorrow.

Upset with the council’s recent act on the temple, state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Com-mittee chairman Lau Chiek Tuan said he and state Economic Planning, Education and Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon would raise the matter at the meeting.

“We will decide what we can do to help the temple which is 80% destroyed,” he told a press conference after attending the SME and Marketing Conference in Cititel Hotel, Penang, yesterday.

Lau, who is also Berapit assemblyman, said he was upset because the council did not respect the decision of the meeting which he and Dr Toh had with council president Datuk Md Aris Ariffin earlier.

The demolition of the illegally built temple at Jalan Maju, Bukit Mertajam on Friday had angered the community there and police had fired two shots in the air to disperse the unruly crowd.

Dr Koh: Stop harping on temple demolition

CHIEF Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has asked all parties to stop turning the demolition of an illegal temple into a religious or racial issue.

Calling on the disgruntled groups to calm down, Dr Koh said demolition of the Tou Mu Kung Temple in Bukit Mertajam was purely an ad-ministrative procedure, as the temple was built without approval.

“I want to say that this issue should not be blown into a religious or racial matter,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the state legislative assembly yesterday.

He said the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MSPS) had, in 2000, requested the developer who owned the land on which the temple was originally located, to help find a suitable place to relocate the temple.

“The developer did not respond to the request. Instead it obtained a court order in 2002 to compel the temple to move. The temple committee made arrangements to relocate the temple to the current controversial site in June 2003.

“People have lodged complaints saying that the temple was located too near the main road,” he said.

Dr Koh said that his deputy Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah had forwarded the complaints to the relevant authorities, adding that it was normal procedure for an assemblyman to do so.

A group of DAP members had earlier held a demonstration outside the state assembly to voice their dissatisfaction.

DCM’s letter centre of temple demolition debate

PENANG: The demolition of the Tou Mu Kung temple by Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) took centre stage at the State Assembly sitting yesterday.

Tan Teik Cheng (BN – Padang Lalang), raising the issue during debate on the state’s 2007 Budget, said he had a copy of a letter signed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah's private secretary Haji Zulkafli Kamaruddin supporting the temple's demolition.

When he wanted to read the contents, Speaker Datuk Yahaya Hamid said he wanted to have a look first.

This prompted Opposition Leader Phee Boon Poh (DAP – Sungai Puyu) to say that it would be good if Tan could read it aloud for everyone's benefit.

“After all, the contents have been widely circulated. It's an open secret,” Phee said.

Yahaya allowed Tan to read part of the letter which stated: “Based on complaints received from residents, non-governmental organisations and political parties, Abdul Rashid as Deputy Chief Minister supports and endorses the demolition before any unwarranted incidents occur.”

At this point, Abdul Rashid interjected: “I had asked MPSP to investigate and take the necessary action. The demolition was the council's decision based on its investigation. I did not direct it.”

Looking upset, he added: “I hope this won't be viewed as a Malay meddling in such affairs.

“Even if I were a non-Malay DCM (Deputy Chief Minister), I would have done the same thing. This is not an action based on race but one based on procedure.”

During the break, he told reporters that complaints about the temple started since 2002 and 10 notices had been issued to its committee.

On the letter, he said: “It's wrong for an officer to take out any document for outside consumption, especially when it can create racial unrest.

“I hope the council will investigate and act accordingly against the culprit.”

He added that the letter was to the council's building department.

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