Temple row

Malaysian tycoon starts fund to buy land from developer

Tan Sri Barry Goh, who headed MCT Berhad until it was taken over by Ayala, also pledged RM500,000. Tan Sri David Kong took the amount of funds raised to RM1.5 million by also pledging RM500,000. Tan Sri Vincent Tan has pledged RM500,000 (S$164,000) f
Tan Sri Vincent Tan has pledged RM500,000 (S$164,000) for a fund to buy the temple plot in Subang Jaya.
Tan Sri Barry Goh, who headed MCT Berhad until it was taken over by Ayala, also pledged RM500,000. Tan Sri David Kong took the amount of funds raised to RM1.5 million by also pledging RM500,000. Tan Sri Vincent Tan has pledged RM500,000 (S$164,000) f
Tan Sri Barry Goh, who headed MCT Berhad until it was taken over by Ayala, also pledged RM500,000.
Tan Sri David Kong took the amount of funds raised to RM1.5 million by also pledging RM500,000.
Tan Sri David Kong took the amount of funds raised to RM1.5 million by also pledging RM500,000.

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan has proposed a fund to be set up to buy the land in Seafield where the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is located.

He said it would be the best way to ensure the Hindu temple remains on its site in Subang Jaya, about 40 minutes away from downtown Kuala Lumpur.

"The public can buy the land, pay off the developer and let the temple stay. It will be difficult to expect the Selangor state government to buy the land," he said.

Tan Sri Tan has also pledged RM500,000 (S$164,000) to kick off the fund.

He was joined by businessman Barry Goh, who previously headed MCT Berhad until it was taken over by Ayala Corporation from the Philippines. Ayala is the ultimate owner of the land which the temple occupies. Tan Sri Goh has also pledged RM500,000.

Tan Sri David Kong, another prominent businessman, took the amount of funds raised to RM1.5 million by pledging RM500,000 as well.

The 0.45ha temple land plot is said to be valued at between RM14.37 million and RM15.33 million.

Yesterday, Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) also said it will lead any negotiations to purchase the land on which the temple sits should this option become a reality.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

The public can buy the land, pay off the developer and let the temple stay. It will be difficult to expect the Selangor state government to buy the land.

BUSINESSMAN VINCENT TAN, who pledged RM500,000 (S$164,000) for a fund to buy the land on which the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple sits, calling it the best way to ensure the temple remains on its site in Subang Jaya.

Its president, Datuk RS Mohan Shan, in a statement, called on the federal government to assist in getting the land valued before its conversion from agriculture to commercial purposes.

MHS is an organisation that the government consults on matters affecting the Hindu community in Malaysia.

"MHS has offered to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to initiate negotiations," he said, adding that MHS is also making preparations to meet land owner One City Development, a subsidiary of MCT Berhad, which Ayala owns.

Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday blamed lawyers for One City Development for allegedly hiring thugs to forcefully evict temple management staff. The move sparked a riot on Monday.

 
 
 
 

On Tuesday morning, a mob attacked the developer's office.

Two lawyers are among 30 people arrested by police so far.

One City Development has denied the allegation.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry has, meanwhile, condemned "irresponsible" allegations from a small right-wing group in India about the recent attacks.

The ministry said the allegations were contained in a memorandum that was sent by Mr Arjun Sampth, president of the Hindu People's Party in India - better known as Hindu Makkal Katchi, who falsely claimed that 200 Islamist terrorists had attacked temple devotees who were trying to defend the place of worship.

"The Malaysian government is taking a serious view of Hindu Makkal Katchi's irresponsible statement that was made without fact-checking and aims to destroy the good bilateral relations between Malaysia and India," the ministry said.

The High Commissioner of India to Malaysia has given his assurance that the Indian government fully supports the actions taken by the Malaysian government to address the issue.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 02, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian tycoon starts fund to buy land from developer'. Print Edition | Subscribe