Eight held over temple issue

Smashed base of a statue of a temple deity

KUALA LUMPUR - Eight people including two politicians were detained here after they tried to stop Kuala Lumpur City Hall from demolishing the back wall of the 101-year-old Sri Muniswarar Kaliamman Hindu temple at Jalan P. Ramlee here.

MIC Youth chief T. Mohan, PKR's S. Jayathas and six others, who tried to stop the demolition, were detained and taken to the Dang Wangi police station for obstructing DBKL officers from carrying out their duties at about 11am yesterday, said Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad.

ACP Zainuddin denied news reports yesterday that DBKL was trying to demolish the 101-year-old temple. The eight people have been released after their statements were recorded.

"City Hall was just moving the statues in the temple, not trying to break them. After some minor repairs to the road in the area, the statues will be put back in place," he told The Star when contacted.

"We believe that this is a misunderstanding. Maybe they thought DBKL was going to demolish the temple," said ACP Zainuddin.

Meanwhile, Datuk R. Ramanan, who is Special Officer to Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, also denied reports that DBKL had planned to demolish the temple.

Ramanan explained that the wall was to be demolished to create a pathway adjacent to the temple.

"They are not demolishing the temple. They are only breaking down the wall to make way for road repairs," he told The Star when contacted.

Earlier, PKR's vice-president N. Surendran, who rushed to scene, said he heard about the demolition at 8am and went there to try and talk the authorities out of it.

However, City Hall went ahead with the demolition of the wall at 9.50am.

"This is an illegal demolition as there was no court order," Surendran claimed.

A check by The Star at 3pm revealed that the bases where the deities had been placed along the back wall had been broken to remove them. The statues were not broken but placed on a table.

The main statue of the Kaliamman deity was untouched while the back and side walls were boarded.

The Sri Muniswarar Kaliamman temple is the only temple for Hindus within Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle business hub.

The temple, located on DBKL reserve land, was built in 1911. It was in danger of being demolished after Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad filed for a court order against the Kuala Lumpur mayor last year.

Hap Seng obtained a court order to demolish part of the temple structure because they needed an extra buffer area to obtain the CF for their 37-storey commercial centre and office building which is under construction next to the temple.