Enter temples but keep politics out, participants told

KUALA LUMPUR - As places of worship, the doors of Hindu and Buddhists temples here should be open for anyone seeking rest, said Malaysia Hindu Sangam adviser Datuk A. Vaithilingam and Chief Monk of the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple B. Sri Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thera.

However, they said anyone entering the temples must not bring their "politics" into holy ground,

Based on that, Vaithilingam said appeals would be made to the respective temple management committees located in the heart of the city not to shut their doors during the Bersih 4 rally, if it takes place over the weekend.

"Those who need rest, to ease themselves or seek shelter can come into the temple grounds to do so.

"However, they must follow the norms and respect the temple as a house of worship," he said.

He said that was the condition under which participants of the Bersih 4 gathering might seek refuge in the temples.

"It is okay if they merely use the temple compounds to rest and take temporary shelter.

"However, they must not bring their politics into the temple," Viathilingam added.

Sri Saranankara said that no one should be denied entry onto temple grounds to seek rest.

"On compassionate grounds, the doors of temples should be opened to everyone seeking rest.

"This applies not only to Bersih participants but to everybody," he added.

However, he said those coming onto the temple grounds must observe the proper decorum.

"Anybody can come into the temple so long as they are peaceful and behave with dignity.

"There should not be anyone making a lot of noise such as shouting or holding a protest on the temple grounds," he added.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian Con­sultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism's acting president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan was quoted as saying that they would appeal to the temples to open their doors to Bersih 4 participants to rest.

The appeal came after three Catholic churches offered their grounds as "sanctuary" for the participants.

Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow confirmed that the Catholic church had decided to allow St John's Cathedral in Bukit Nanas, St Anthony's Church in Pudu and Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Brickfields to be places of sanctuary during the rally.