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Temple built illegally on the the land had been gazetted for a surau in Kepong

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KEPONG: A Hindu temple in Jalan Metro 2 here was nearly demolished by the authorities yesterday morning but political intervention put a stop to it.
Equipped with a bulldozer and a tractor, more than 40 enforcement officers from the Federal Territory Land and Mines Department and Kuala Lumpur City Hall were about to tear down the Sri Maha Veppan Kaliamman temple, but Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan arrived in the nick of time to stop the demolition works.

Saravanan who arrived at the temple at 10.15am immediately ordered the officers and workers who were in the midst of tearing down a temporary hoarding surrounding the temple to postpone the works.

The deputy minister also questioned how the demolition could take place without his knowledge.

“How can they demolish a temple without my approval as I am in charge of any temple demolition in the Federal Territories. I came to know about this matter an hour ago and I quickly rushed here to put a stop to this,” Saravanan said.

“Even the prime minister had issued a letter stating that matters concerning temple demolition should be referred to me or (my minister) Datuk Raja Nong Chik (Raja Zainal Abidin) and these agencies have breached this order.”

Temple chairman M. Perisamy said the temple was relocated from Segambut to its present location in March last year following approvals from the ministry and the temple was in the midst of being upgraded.

Meanwhile, Land and Mines Office director Hashim Ismail defended the actions of his officers saying that the land had been gazetted for a surau for the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council.

“The temple committee had applied to us in 2010 to have that piece of land for their temple but we rejected their application.” “Because we had rejected their application, we assumed that they trespassed government land and had built an illegal structure,” Hashim said.

He also said that the structures in the temple were only built less than two months ago.

When contacted again, Saravanan admitted that the ministry had helped move the temple to the current location last year.

However, the ministry’s records show that the land had been reserved for non–Muslim places of worship, he said.

Saravanan declined to comment when asked if any action would be taken against City Hall and the Land Office and instead said he would further discuss the matter with Raja Nong Chik. – By Ikram Ismail | Malay Mail