Malaysian deputy PM quashes rumour of temple demolition

August 26th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 26 (IANS) Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak Tuesday dismissed a report alleging that a Hindu temple had been demolished in a Malaysian city. He sought to scotch a rumour doing the rounds in Permatang Pauh, the parliamentary constituency that had a by-election in which former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim is one of the two candidates, official news agency Bernama reported.

Razak said he had explained to all the leaders of the Indian community that it was a false news that a temple was demolished at Kuantan, Pahang, Star Online said.

“I heard (about it) yesterday (Monday). We have informed all the leaders of the Indian community, the MIC and PPP, and the president of the Hindu Sangam has come out with a statement that the news is not true,” he said in a interview on TV3’s 1.30 p.m. news bulletin.

An estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians, mostly Hindu Tamils, form eight percent of the country’s 28 million population.

The shifting or demolition of temples, often built on government land, by the authorities has been a sensitive issue among the community.

A temple was razed a week before the Deepavali festival in 2006.

An unregistered body, Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) raised the issue, along with alleged discrimination against ethnic Indians at a protest rally last November for which five of its leaders are serving two year jail terms.

Razak Najib visited several polling stations in Tuesday’s by-election in Permatang Pauh, supervising the deployment of 5,000 police personnel to ensure security during the election.

Less than 70 percent of the 58,459 voters had cast their votes at 25 polling stations in the constituency during the day.

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