by LEVEN WOON on 9 Jun, 2011
Picture and report courtesy of Komunitikini.com
The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) should not approve a private property project at the site of two temples in Section 19, Petaling Jaya until an amicable settlement is reached with the company behind it, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua today.
Pua said he would lobby MBPJ about the situation faced by an Indian temple and a neighbouring Chinese temple and ask the authorities to defer its approval of the project.
Pua’s statement comes after both temples received legal notice on May 16 from landowner Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB), requiring them to evict the temples immediately.
Pua said the notice was served in bad faith as the temple committees have been negotiating with the property company since March, which he has been mediating.
“As landowner they are entitled to issue legal notice, but as a government we are also entitled to defer approval of their development,” he told reporters and some 50 devotees at Sri Maha Mariamman temple this morning.
The property company put up the notice board required by law to inform the public of the project last week, but the last date for objection was backdated to April 19.
Pua (right) said SDB was well-aware of the existence of the 50-year-old Hindu temple and the 45-year-old Tow Boo Keong temple when it bought over the land in 2006.
“In 2007, MBPJ had deferred a development approval for the land until SDB produced a full-fledged plan and provides the temples with 10,000 sq ft of alternative land each.
“We request the developer to seriously consider this as part of the resolution,” he said.
He stressed that the devotees are willing to negotiate with the developer to reach an amicable settlement.
Sri Maha Mariaman temple committee secretary, Raman Muniandy (left), said they prefer the temple to remain where it is. He said SDB once offered to compensate the temple with RM300,000 for its relocation, but it was rejected by the devotees.
“This is the only Hindu temple in Petaling Jaya Utara; we don’t want any cent of compensation, we just want it to remain here,” he said.
Tow Boo Keong temple committee chairman, Tan Kam Piew, said the temple should ideally remain in the community because its devotees are mainly from the Damansara Bistari flats, next door.
He noted that the entire place around Jalan SS2/72, where SS 2 Mall and Ken Damansara 3 Condominium are situated, were previously the site of Kampung Damansara Dalam.
“The two temples were the places of worship for the villagers, who have since been relocated to Damansara Bistari low-cost flats,” he said.
SDB’s corporate communication department head, Yeoh Guan Jin, when contacted, clarified that the legal notice was merely to inform the temple committees of the new landowner.
“Nowhere in the letter is stated that the temples will be demolished or the devotees will be evicted,” he said.
He added that SDB is prepared to negotiate and agree on a reasonable amount of compensation.
Footnote by Tony Pua:
Please-la SDB, we are not illiterate children - "legal notice was merely to inform the temple committees of the new landowner"? You must be kidding me. Let me quote you your letter sent on 16 May 2011 from your friendly neighbourhood lawyers, Soo Thien Ming & Nashrah:
"3. We hereby give you notice that your actions amount to trespass on our client's Land and our client WILL NOT HESITATE to institute legal proceedings and pursue ALL APPROPRIATE REMEDIES under the law against you WITHOUT ANY FURTHER NOTICE."
Yes, the lawyer's letter to the temple committee sounds so friendly and amicable. Please don't try to mislead the public to save your reputation. It is extremely bad faith that you have issued letters like this to threaten the temples while we were in the midst of negotiations.