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Millionaire temple committee member poser

Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 07 @ 07:29:30 CST

ReligionAndrew Ong, Malaysiakini
Feb 7, 06 8:25pm

He allegedly owns a fleet of 12 luxury cars, including two Mercedes Benzes E240 - all of them bearing the same registration number.

He also owns several properties locally and abroad, the largest one being a 10-room bungalow in Kota Damansara estimated to be worth RM4 million.

And it is believed that his only full-time job is with the Batu Cave’s Hindu temple committee.

A police report has been lodged today against the high-profile committee member of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Batu Caves, accusing him of embezzlement of temple funds.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy youth chief S Manikavasagam (photo), who lodged the report today, said police should investigate the source of the committee member’s income.

Speaking to reporters after lodging the report at the Sentul district police headquarters this afternoon, Manikavasagam said the large amount of assets owned by the individual was questionable.

“Look at his house, not even former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim owned such a property, let alone someone who runs a temple on a full time basis,” said Manikavasagam.

He said he believes that the temple committee member, a former meter reader, does not have any other form of income.

Wants action taken

Other reports have been lodged in the past with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Attorney-General’s Chambers and with the Gombak police involving the same individual, but no action has been taken, claims Manikavasagam.

“It took the police only a few days to take action against Anwar. Why can’t we see the same swift response on someone who runs a temple?” said Manikavasagam.

He said in February last year, he lodged a report with the ACA over a botched RM5 million Selangor state government project to set-up a cultural centre on a 10-hectare site near the Batu Caves temple to showcase Indian Malaysian religion, art, culture and history.

To date, the temple claims it has only received RM480,000. Manikavasagam said his report last year questioning the whereabouts of the remaining RM4.52m has yet to see any development.

Milk pot issue

Previously, Manikavasagam also made a police report on the collection of RM10 by unauthorised individuals from devotees performing the paal kudam (milk pot) ritual at the Batu Caves temple during Thaipusam.

He claims that police investigations into this have also not resulted in anything. Prior to 2005, no charge was levied on the performance of the ritual by devotees.

However, according to a source close to the temple committee who contacted malaysiakini, the collection of RM10 by the temple committee was not illegal and receipts were given out as proof of payment.

The RM10, said the source, was used for temple maintenance as well as to provide services to devotees throughout the year.

“Many devotees have waited a whole year to perform the ritual at Batu Caves during Thaipusam. Nowadays, RM10 doesn’t seem too much,” he added.

He added that the crux of discontent among devotees centred on the collection of fees by unauthorised personnel.

The ‘milk pot’ ritual fee generated a furore last year as many Hindu devotees were appalled at having to pay in order to fulfill their religious obligations.

Meanwhile, Hindus have already started to throng Batu Caves to fulfil their vows with Thaipusam falling on Saturday.



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