The ins and outs of non-Muslim worship house rules in S'gor and beyond

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KINIGUIDE | Selangor state government came under fire for issuing manual guidelines which included a recommendation that non-Muslim places of worship should not be built within 50 metres of a home owned by Muslims.

The state executive council immediately suspended the controversial provision, included in the third edition of the "Selangor Manual Guidelines and Planning Standard", pending a review.

Senior state executive councillor Teng Chang Khim had apologised and offered to resign for the error.

After being slammed by MCA, state assembly speaker Hannah Yeoh said the contentious clauses on the distance and height limitations are not exclusively found in Selangor.

She said the Federal Department of Town and Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia under the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government had issued a draft guideline containing the same clauses for temples, churches and gurdwaras in 2010.

Yeoh added that the draft guidelines have since been adopted by Pahang, Terengganu and Perlis.

In this latest instalment, we will take a look at the relevant guidelines practiced in Selangor and other states, as well in the federal level.

What is written in the third edition of the Selangor's 196-page guidelines on non-Muslim places of worship?

  • One worship house to 5,000 population ratio.
  • Need a segregation zone of at least 50 metres between the worship house and Muslim community.
  • Required to serve notice and get feedback and concern from at least of 40 homes or the households within the radius of 200 metres before gaining approval for the construction of a worship house at an area where majority of the population practice another faith.
  • Places of worship for non-Muslims should be built at the centre of the community.
  • Should not build non-Muslim places of worship at shoplots and residential areas, unless proven no other suitable land or area available. This should be on case-to-case basis.
  • Need to adapt the height of the sculpture and the building of the temple, church and gurdwara to its surrounding buildings.
  • In a Muslim majority area, need to adapt the height of the building and sculpture to the surrounding building, dome and a mosque tower.
  • If possible, need to take into consideration the height of the worship house and the skyline, colour and scenery so it could harmoniously fit into the development of the surrounding area.
  • Not allowed in a commercial area and vacant land. Cannot change a house into a house of worship.
  • The designs of worship house should not have elements which may touch on the sensitivity in the surrounding area...