Lim Kit Siang shocked by demolition of Munisvaran Temple in Batang Berjuntai by police and District Office enforcement unit and sends protest cables to Acting Prime Minister, Home Affairs Minister and Selangor Mentri Besar

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, on Friday, 30th Sept. 1977:

Lim Kit Siang shocked by demolition of Munisvaran Temple in Batang Berjuntai by police and District Office enforcement unit and sends protest cables to Acting Prime Minister, Home Affairs Minister and Selangor Mentri Besar

Yesterday, at about 2 p.m., I received a telegram in Malacca from Batang Berjuntai which read: “Hindu Temple Demolished. Please Take Action. Rukunegara Died. Committee Kuil. Batang Berjuntai”.

At about 7 p.m., accompanied by the newly-appointment Chairman of the DAP National Estates Sub-Committee, Sdr. K. Raman, I visited Batang Berjuntai and saw with horror and shock, the demolished Munisvaran Temple. It is clear that not only the Committee of the Munisvaran Temple, but the entire Indian community, are very disturbed and agitated by the demolition of the Munisvaran Temple yesterday morning by some 40 FRU and District Office enforcement personnel.

The Kuala Selangor District Office has demolished the Temple on the ground that its TOL land is not being renewed, and that unapproved extensions were carried out.

These reasons are not acceptable, and cannot excuse the disregard of the religious freedoms and religious feelings of important Malaysian sections about their faith.

The Rukunegara and the Government have often spoken of the sanctity of religious freedom in the country. The demolition of a Hindu temple is contrary to this Rukunegara pledge, and must be opposed and condemned by all peace-loving Malaysians.

That the temple is standing on TOL land, which is not being renewed, is no excuse for demolishing; just as it would be inexcusable if the Kuala Selangor District Office should demolish the surau opposite the temple on the ground that the surau also standing on T.O.L. land.

The Assistant Direct Officer who is responsible for issuing the order for demolition should be immediately transferred away from Batang Berjuntai, and Kuala Selangor, for he has shown to be insensitive and inacapable of understanding the multi-religious nature of the Malaysian society.

I would also like to know how the State Assemblyman for the area, Dato N.S. Maniam (Asam Jawa) could allow such a terrible thing to take place.

The Munisvaran Temple Committee were readying the temple for its annual feast day on Oct. 20, when thousands of Indians in the surrounding areas would go to the temple to do homage.

The demolition action of the Hindu Temple clearly violates the Malaysian Constitution guarantee of religious freedom and of Rukunegara pledge of respect for different religious beliefs. I call on all Malaysians who respects the Malaysian Constitution to come forward to register their protest against this unconstitutional and un-Malaysian act, Malaysians, especially Indians, should register their protest in a concrete form. Ways to do this will be to visit, individually and in groups, the site of the demolished Munisvaran Temple, to pray at the Temple site, to re-affirm their belief in religious freedoms in Malaysia.

The Government should take immediate action to undo the grave damage done by the rash demolition of the Hindu temple. Gravely undermining national unity by firstly, giving an immediate undertaking that the Munisvaran Temple would be allowed to be rebuilt on the same site; and secondly, to compensate the Temple Committee for the expenses of rebuilding the Munisvaran Temple.

The Munisvaran Temple has been standing on the present site since 1972. Before that, it was on the land presently occupied by the Balai Bomba. The temple was moved to the present site, with a $100 compensation by the government, after having been sited ay the present Balai Bomba locality for over 40 years.

I have sent a protest cable to the Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, about the demolition of the Munisvaran Temple, in violating the religious sensitivities and religious feelings of the different religious faiths in the country, and to ask for government compensation for the demolition and restoration of the Temple. I have also sent a protest cable to the Home Affairs Minister, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, for the police action in demolishing the temple. a third cable has gone out to the Mentri Besar of Selangor, Hormat Rafeei, protesting against the District Office demolition of the Temple, demanding compensation to Temple Committee and Restoration of Temple to the area, and the immediate transfer of the Assistant District Officer who ordered the demolition.