Furore over temple demolition

People watching as officials demolish the Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman temple in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR - The demolition of the Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman temple in the heart of the city has left temple committee members upset.

"We were not given any notice and had no idea they were coming. They arrived at about 7.30am and without serving any notice or giving an explanation, proceeded with the demolition," temple president R.A. Balasubra­­ma­niam said.

Tempers were high on-site throughout the demolition yesterday as temple committee members and concerned parties tried to get answers from the authorities on what was happening.

They were also initially barred from entering the temple to ensure the statues of the deities were kept safe while the demolition works were being carried out.

Temple secretary Nalini Rani said that they had an appointment to meet with the Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr J. Loga Bala Mohan on Nov 19 to discuss the issue.

"The meeting was supposed to be on the 17th last month but it was postponed as he had been ill," she said, adding that they were all shocked.

There were about 300 personnel members from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Land and Mines Department, Tenaga Nasional, Syabas and the police present at the site during the demolition process.

The DBKL officers who were on site declined to comment when asked about the demolition.

To facilitate the demolition works, Jalan P. Ramlee between Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Sultan Ismail was closed to traffic in the morning and only partially reopened in the early afternoon.

MIC Youth exco Arvind Krishnan said they would request for the matter to be raised in Parliament.

"We will go all out to get justice for this temple and will demand for it be rebuilt. We will not accept an apology for this. We want answers," he said.

At 2.30pm, most of the debris from the demolition works had been cleared and only one shrine and a small section of the temple was left intact.

The temple, which was built in 1911, had been issued an eviction notice on June 13 but the process was stopped after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak intervened and ordered that discussions be held to seek an amicable solution.

Situated on public land, the temple is located next to a 37-storey commercial building that is currently under construction.