Malaysia

Muslim group says RM10-million Klang temple will send out wrong message

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
October 31, 2013

A Muslim non-governmental organisation is against the rebuilding of a Hindu temple in Klang (pic) at a cost of RM10 million, saying it will create a negative impression among Muslim tourists from the Middle East and undermine the government’s Islamic credentials worldwide.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman said such development is not covered in the Federal Constitution under freedom of religion because it exceeds the rationality of religious freedom.

"For this, we ask the Prime Minister, the Tourism Minister and the state government to be mindful of this,” he said in a statement today.

Abdullah Zaik 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.

He said this when commenting on a news report that the Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple is poised to become a landmark and tourism attraction in Klang.

Abdullah said the prime minister had pledged to uphold the teachings of Islam and, as such, plans to rebuild certain houses of worships for tourism purposes went against that pledge.

Apart from that, ISMA is concerned others are trying to take advantage to promote their religion to the point of causing unhealthy competition, without respecting the reality that Islam was the official religion of Malaysia.

Abdullah also said that the sprouting of certain wrongful teachings was destroying Malaysia's reputation as a model Islamic country in the eyes of the international community.

Last Monday, Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple president S. Anandakrishnan said the temple, the first granite one in Malaysia, would become a tourist destination when completed.

Anandakrishnan also said he would be meeting with the Tourism Ministry to request that it includes the temple, dubbed the Thirupathi of Southeast Asia, in its tourism promotions.

"We believe this temple has the potential to be a tourist attraction and a good landmark for Klang which would boost foreign tourist arrivals to Malaysia," he had said.. – October 31, 2013.