KANGAR: The decision by the Perlis government to bar non-Muslims from placing their prayer altars along the walkways of the Seri Sena Flats in Kangar has not gone down well with the state MCA.
Its chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong said religious, cultural and traditional practices of all races must be respected as Malaysia is a multi-racial country.
"We feel that any directive or measures taken by the administrative body must take into account the people's feelings and society's perception.
"We regret that such a controversy has happened when the Lunar New Year celebration is just around the corner," he said in a statement yesterday.
State MCA secretary Lam Pak Sam said they would meet with state Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Mat Hassan today to resolve the issue.
He said the Chinese community had been placing Jade Emperor altars on the corridor for prayers all this while.
"Hindus also place their altars there.
"We support any move to clean up the corridors. As long as the size and height of the altars are reasonable, it should not be an issue."
Lam said he and Titi Tinggi assemblyman Khaw Hock Kong would represent the party in the meeting with Mat.
Earlier, Lam, Perlis MCA Youth chief Chung Muh Sha and two other members visited non-Muslim residents staying in the flats.
It was reported that several households at the flats received notices from the state housing department, telling them to remove their altars within a week. The notices were issued on Jan 12.
There are two blocks there comprising 480 units.
According to Guang Ming Daily, the lease for their units would be terminated if residents failed to do so within the stipulated time.
It also stated that the lease agreement banned residents from placing their belongings outside their units.
Mat was reported to have expressed hope that the residents would co-operate as items placed along the walkway would inconvenience others.