I refer to the letter Gov't duty to protect temples.
The writer is right in saying that places of worship are judicial entities. It is acknowledged that shrines and Hindu temples have been used for spiritual upliftment in certain vicinities for over 50 to 150 years and long before the local councils were formed. Thus, it is agreed that it is the government's duty to regularise them in the event these shrines/temples have not fulfilled the stipulated building requirements.
However, once local councils came into existence, all communities be they Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh or Muslim should be responsible enough to not build places of worship on an ad-hoc basis, flout local regulations and then conveniently blame commercial development, local authorities and the government. It is wise to remember the legal maxim which says: 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse".
In this regard, the Hindu Sangam, political parties, local councils and the government should play an active and pivotal role in advising the Hindu community not to build shrines and Hindu temples on ad-hoc basis as prevention is better than cure. However, what makes the local authorities and the government 'look bad' in the eyes of the public and international community are these factors:
- The government standing by and just watching the wanton destruction of Hindu temples by local councils in several states. Why didn't the federal government interfere?
- Why it is extremely difficult to get approval from local councils to build non-Muslim places of worship in new townships?
Recently, the Gerakan Youth slammed several quarters for the destruction of Hindu temples Coincidentally, the letter above narrates the case of a Hindu temple at the Batu Kawan Estate which was compulsorily acquired by the Penang government in 1992.
Ideally, Gerakan Youth should 'walk the talk' in persuading and influencing the Gerakan-led Penang government to resolve the impasse regarding the established Hindu temple at Batu Kawan Estate.
In Selangor, the above letter mentioned that plantation companies are not adhering to the state government's policy pertaining temples which were on the estates before the estates were turned into townships. It is sad and disappointing to note that the MIC has not done anything politically or legally to take these plantation companies to task for flouting the law.