When contacted, temple priest K Periyasamy said the team, together with some 100 police and FRU personnel, began cordoning off the area at 9am.
He said the move was unexpected, given recent assurances that efforts were in progress to resolve the situation.
“Last night, for example, I received a call from Malacca Hindu Sangam chief A Krishnan who assured me that the temple would not be demolished,” said Periyasamy, who contacted Krishnan after hearing rumours that the temple would be torn down today.
M Nadarajan, on whose land the temple is located, was also puzzled by the demolition.
He explained that he approached Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam (photo
) and Mayor Zaini Mohd Noor this morning to get their signatures on a letter permitting him to keep the temple, following Krishnan’s assurance.
“I managed to get their signatures. However, before I could reach home, MBMB officials had already broken the fence on my land and entered the temple. They and the police did not want to accept the letter when I gave it to them,” he claimed.
Nadarajan said that he had lost stones worth RM50,000 in the demolition exercise.
“I kept all the stones in the temple. I was not even allowed to go in to get them out. The team just broke everything,” he said, adding that he has lodged a police report at the Melaka Tengah police station.
When contacted, Krishnan said he did not know why the temple was demolished despite the undertakings of the mayor and Segamat parliamentarian Dr S Subramaniam.
“Subramaniam told me that he had spoken to Zaini and that he (Zaini) had given his assurance that the temple would not be torn down. I contacted Subramaniam this morning (after the demolition), and he’s puzzled too,” said Krishnan. PKR official arrested
During the demolition exercise, Malacca PKR vice-president A Jayathas was arrested by the police for alleged interference.
Jayathas said he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed when he asked for a demolition notice from one DSP Razali.
“I was told that no notice has been issued. They also told me not to ‘disrupt’ their work. They broke all the statues and loaded these into lorries to be disposed elsewhere,” he claimed.
Three weeks ago, malaysiakini
reported that caretakers of the 16-year-old temple had been given until July 15
to tear down the renovated portion of the building, on grounds that the expansion was not welcome in a Malay village.
Local Umno Youth members have also shown displeasure by putting up two banners in the vicinity that read: 'Don’t test our patience' and ‘Tear down this unlawful temple’.