Malaysia

Let them make noise, we got our own funding, says Klang temple president

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
October 31, 2013

The Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple in Klang has come under attack from Muslim NGO Isma for refurbishment work. - The Malaysian Insider pic file, October 31, 2013.The Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple in Klang has come under attack from Muslim NGO Isma for refurbishment work. - The Malaysian Insider pic file, October 31, 2013."Let them make all the noise they want, it is getting quite common here in Malaysia." This was the response from the president of the 130-year-old Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple in Klang which has now come under attack from a Muslim non-governmental organisation protesting the refurbishment work.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) had said that the refurbishment of the temple in the centre of Klang town would create a negative impression among Muslim tourists who visit Malaysia.

The group was also concerned with a report that the temple was poised to become a landmark and tourist attraction in Klang.

But temple president S. Anandakrishnan was unperturbed by Isma's concerns, adding he was "not bothered with what certain groups had to say".

"Who are they to comment anyway? We got our own funding, we did not take any money from the government. Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

"And by the way, the structure was completed two weeks ago. All that is left is the statues and the dome which will be ready in 12 months," said Anandakrishnan, adding that the decorative granite stones from India had also been assembled two weeks ago.

According to him, the Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple was being refurbished with funding from prominent and wealthy Indians. Even judges worship at this temple, he said.

"We also received support from multi-national companies, so we are not bothered about what they (Isma) say," he said.

Anandakrishnan said the consecration of the temple is slated for June 2015, and that workers from India will be arriving in a week's time to work on the dome.

Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman had called on the government to take the necessary steps to ensure harmony and to protect Malaysia's image in the eyes of the international Muslim community.

Klang MP Charles Santiago labelled Isma as an extension of Perkasa, saying that the Muslim NGO wanted to act like it was the custodian of Islam.

Santiago said Isma should reserve their comments as the rebuilding of the temple was privately funded.

"Muslim religious bodies should make a stand against groups like Isma who do not appreciate the concept of freedom of religion," he said, adding that Malaysia stood to gain if the temple was promoted as a tourist attraction.

"What could possibly be wrong with that? Isma is just being ridiculous.

"They want to show they are the custodians of the religion. They are essentially an extension of Perkasa," Santiago said.

Abdullah also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had pledged to uphold the teachings of Islam and, as such, plans to rebuild certain houses of worship for tourism purposes went against this pledge.

This was Isma's second outburst against Hindus in the past one week.

They also came on strongly on the issue of cows being slaughtered in schools when they warned Hindu parents to back off with their demands that schools not be used for such rituals.

"Why should we bow to pressure from them (Hindus)? It is as if we do not have our own identity. This is our country and it is an Islamic country," Isma's deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya was quoted as saying.

"We want to slaughter cows, who cares? What is the percentage of the Indian community in Malaysia? Only 1% or 2%. The Malays were over 60% of the population."

Aminuddin was referring to Hindu parents who were among others who were against school grounds being used to slaughter cows, considered sacred to Hindus, during the recent Hari Raya Haji celebrations.

Isma had also criticised the recent construction of the Calvary Church Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur that is touted as the largest church building in Southeast Asia.

The Pentecostal church is 600,000sq ft in area and has a 5,000 seat auditorium, as well as a multi-purpose hall, a nursery, lecture halls, and classrooms. – October 31, 2013.