Johor Pakatan Harapan today questioned Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin's ability to handle sensitive issues in the state, following the demolition of a Hindu temple in Masai.
In a joint statement signed by Johor Harapan chief Muhyiddin Yassin (photo), Johor Bersatu chief Shahruddin Md Salleh, Johor Amanah chief Aminolhuda Hassan, Johor PKR chief Hassan Karim and Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong, they noted the temple was located within the parliamentary constituency of Pasir Gudang.
Khaled is the Pasir Gudang BN and Umno division chief, was a three-term MP of the constituency, and is now the Permas assemblyperson, a state seat located within its boundaries.
"The explanation given by Khaled proves he was not prudent in handling the interest and sensitivities of a multicultural community, particularly the Indian community in Johor," they said.
Khaled (photo) had explained that the land on which the nearly 80-year-old Sri Siva Sakti Sri Sinna Karuppar Aalayam sits on was acquired by a third party since 1995, and multiple eviction notices had been sent to the temple.
He added that the state government had offered the temple owners a new piece of state-owned land owned for them to relocate to, but the offer was rejected.
However, Harapan claimed Khaled (photo) cannot "wash his hands" of the matter simply because the state government had made the temple a relocation offer.
"As menteri besar, Khaled cannot think that it suffices to point the finger at the landowner or the temple... He should that taken pre-emptive action and played a more active role.
"The demolition of the Sri Siva Sakti Sri Sinna Karuppar Aalayamtemple in Masai, which angered the Indian community, should not have happened," they said.
Harapan also expressed concern that the incident could become a precedent for similar cases.
Khaled yesterday urged calm following the temple demolition, asking the people of Johor to remain tolerant and rational.