A prominent Malaysian Indian businessman has surprised many by calling for a reduction in government grants to Hindu temples, Tamil Nesan reported.
Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) president Tan Sri Kenneth Eswaran called for the cut during a function in Johor Baru on Monday.
He said there were more temples in Malaysia than in South India, with some small towns here having up to 10 each.
He said the funds given to these temples, including those from the state governments, could be better used to help Indian traders and entrepreneurs.
Eswaran also called for a halt to the growing trend of setting up caste-based associations among Malaysian Indians.
He said the community only made up 8 per cent of the country's population and should avoid dividing itself into groups.
During the function, several members of an Indian political party who had been invited staged a walkout.
They were reportedly angry that Eswaran had neglected to mention the party's state chairman in his speech.