Andrew Ong, Malaysiakini
May 4, 06 12:05pm
A court injunction has been sought in a bid to stop demolition works on a 150-year old temple in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan.
The application for an interim injunction was filed on Tuesday by the Sri Maha Mariamman temple committee to stop an attempt by the state District and Land Office from demolishing the temple.
According to their lawyer P Waythamoorthy, the temple was erected 150 years ago by Indian immigrants brought in by the British as farmers and rubber tappers.
The settlers then had the permission of the British landowners to build the temple. The temple land however was later acquired by the state government and gazetted as road reserve in 1956.
A notice was issued by the District and Land Office on March 14, informing occupants to vacate the area within seven days to facilitate widening works on the Jalan Seremban - Senawang Phase 2 road.
Presently, a tractor has been placed near the vicinity of the temple, causing undue distress to devotees, said the lawyer.
Waythamoorthy said unofficial negotiations between the temple committee and the relevant authorities had taken place but to no avail other than delaying demolition works which could take place anytime.
The lawyer said the crux of the matter was that the temple was erected long before the enactment of the National Land Code 1960, which is being used by the District and Land Office against the temple for ‘unlawful occupation’.
As such, the temple committee is also seeking for a court declaration that 1) the notice issued by the District and Land Office is null and void 2) the temple has the right of existence and 3) the National Land Code cannot be applied in this specific case.
Letter to MB
Waythamoorthy had also sent a protest letter to Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan on the matter, urging the latter to intervene.
In the letter, Waythamoorthy - who also heads the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) - said the temple should not be deemed illegal unless there were “deliberate and ulterior ill intentions” to do so.
“It doesn’t make sense as a shrine that has served its people since pre-independence is now all of a sudden termed ‘illegal’.
"Perhaps Malaysia is the only country in the world which would term places of worship illegal,” read the letter, which was made available to malaysiakini.