Malaysian Indian idustrialist wants Hindu shrines registered

June 13th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 13 (IANS) Malaysian Indian legislators should help in the registration of Hindu temples in the country to avoid their demolition on the ground that they were illegally built, a noted Indian origin industrialist has said. K. Kalaichelvan said lawmakers of Indian origin should support the Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) in this task, Tamil language newspaper Makkal Osai reported Friday.

At the consecration ceremony of the 30-year-old Sri Maha Thurkai Amman temple in Kapar, Selangor, Kalaichelvan said many temples, although in existence for many years, were not registered.

Many more were located on private plots and problems arose when the owners wanted to take back their land, The Star newspaper said Friday.

Shifting and demolition of religious shrines, belonging to all faiths, has been a sensitive issue in Malaysia. The government denies any discrimination and says that it is only following the law irrespective of the religious denomination to which the shrine belongs.

Shifting of a Hindu temple close to the Diwali festival last year caused resentment among the community.

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), claiming to speak for Malaysia’s two million-plus Tamil Hindus, staged a protest rally last November. One of the allegations it made was that over 35,000 Hindu shrines have been demolished in Malaysia since independence in 1957.

Muslim Malays are in a majority in Malaysia but the country also has significant ethnic and religious minorities of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists of various denominations.

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