Temple saga

Developer to transfer land to a trust, says A-G

The Malaysian government, after mediating to resolve controversy over the relocation of a Hindu temple in Selangor, announced yesterday that the land owner has agreed to transfer the plot on which the temple is located to a trust.

The move to pass ownership from One City Development to trustees to manage the 0.4ha plot in Subang Jaya where the Sri Maha Mariamman temple sits should resolve the ongoing land dispute.

"Subject to terms to be agreed upon, One City Development will transfer the one-acre plot of land on which the temple is located to a trust to be administered by the High Court," Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Thomas said his office will apply to the High Court for the appointment of trustees, who will manage both the trust and the temple.

A two-day riot broke out at the temple's premises late last month after a group of men brandishing weapons tried to force devotees from the site. Twenty vehicles were burned and a fireman was seriously injured.

The temple has, over the years, seen ownership of the land transferred several times until current land owner One City Development won a court order to have the temple moved to a new location.

The land forms part of an ongoing development plan in the area.


But temple devotees refused to relocate and sought government intervention to keep the existing premises.

The authorities have arrested over 100 suspects in connection with the fracas. So far, 21 people have been charged.

One City Development has denied involvement in the incident, refuting allegations that it hired thugs to cause the riot.

The land dispute between the developer and the temple's management has been going on for years. In a 2014 court settlement, temple representatives agreed to relocate. One City Development would, in return, donate RM1.5 million (S$480,000) for a new temple to be built. However, some devotees rejected the agreement and the case went back to court.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Developer to transfer land to a trust, says A-G'. Print Edition | Subscribe