Call on Malaysians to be concerned about the national heritage of the Batu Caves

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at a political dialogue organised by the three Petaling Jaya branches of PJ Old Town, PJ and Sea Park At Mandarin Restaurant, SS2, Petaling Jaya on Friday, 15.8.1980 at 8pm

Call on Malaysians to be concerned about the national heritage of the Batu Caves and join in the Batu Caves Day proposed for Sept.7 to save a national heritage and religious shrine

The Selangor State Government owes the people of the State and Malaysia explanation as to why the two quarries at Batu Caves have been allowed a six-month extension of quarrying activities although it might bring out the collapse of the 200-million-year-old Caves.

The reasons that have been given unofficially so far, that the alternative quarries at Sungai Long had no access road and electricity supply an that granite is needed for development projects do not hold water.

The Malayan Nature Society has ably shown that these reasons are more excuses, for:

1. Batu Caves is not made of granite but of limestone;
2. The two quarries, which are producing road chips, could easily lay their own road;
3. There are enough granite quarries in Selangor to supply the needs of development
4. The quarries affected already have stockpiles of chips stored up in anticipation of the stoppage;
5. Selangor has more granite than limestone as a non-renewable resource;
6. If limestone is essential, subterranean limestone can be mined as at the Rawang Cement Works;
7. If the chips are needed for roads, limestone is not as good as granite as limestone wears smoother more quickly making the road more slippery in wet weather;
8. The quarries emit dust pollutions well above the international admissible level and must be stopped for the health of the people;

The collapse of the Batu Caves would deprive 800,000 Hindus of their sacred religious shrine, deny Kuala Lumpur of another Tourist attraction and destroy a well-studied laboration for science and seriously threaten durian production in the effects on bats.

Although Batu Caves have been designated as a National Monument, immediate action is needed now to prevent it from becoming a National Mausoleum!

Malaysians must act now to demonstrate “People’s Power” to save Batu Caves. The best way is for them to concentrate with their families and children at Batu Caves on Batu Caves Day proposed for Sept.7 which is a Sunday, and by their presence to picnic, talks, discussions, even songs and dances, to tell the authorities and the two quarries to bow down to public opinion for the preservation of a 200-million-year-old natural and national heritage and religious shrine.

The preservation of a Hindu religious shrine should be supported by all religions and groups in Malaysia, as it will underline Malaysia’s profession of freedom of worship.