Sivan temple in Bukit Gasing not open to public, yet

by Zaidatul Syreen Abdul Rashid

Contrary to claims, the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing has not been re-opened to the public, as the Petaling Jaya City Council does not deem the site to be safe as yet.

MBPJ development and planning committee member Derek Fernandez said this was based on information obtained from the Public Works Institute (or Ikram by its Malay acronym).

At a meeting this afternoon involving MBPJ, Ikram and the temple committee, all parties agreed that the site remained unsafe following the most recent landslide on Jan 7.

Speaking to reporters later, Fernandez said: “Those are not (minor) cracks on the floor of the temple. It is clear that the earth is moving and this is dangerous. Ikram has carried out inspections. They are the experts, so we should leave it to them.”

Chairperson of the temple trustee committee, Indrani Samy Vellu, denied that the temple has been opened daily.

“The temple is only open on days of special prayer. Public safety is important, so we have to be strict about letting people in,” she said.

“I just don’t understand why some people like to cucuk-cucuk (interfere). (The closure of the temple) has nothing to do with race or religion.”

Indrani also said she does not understand why M Manoharan and P Uthayakumar, former leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force, had declared yesterday that the temple has been re-opened.

Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar, who was present, was asked to comment on the duo’s demand to the Selangor government to alienate the site to the temple trustees within 30 days and gazette this accordingly. ??He said: “We have to comply with the rules established by MBPJ. The temple was closed by the temple trustees and not by the state government.??“They are not government people (officers), so they do not comprehend the rules and regulations. But both (Uthayakumar and Manoharan) are lawyers.. they ought to know the rules and procedures.”

Derek said some of the unwanted structures in the temple compound were now being removed.??“The temple authorities are removing non-essential things, such as the small domes, to minimise dangers (of another landslide),” he said.

‘State will give land to the temple’

For the time being, heavy vehicles would be moving up and down the road to the temple, and this might bring discomfort to Bukit Gasing residents, said a temple committee member when asked how long the work would last.

“Of course, at times, lorries must enter and the area will be dusty. But it will be done during standard working hours, which means, the work will be carried out between 8am and 6pm,” he said.

Derek added: “The state government will give the land to them as the Sivan Temple has been there for 40 years. But to make it within 30 days as urged by Uthayakumar and Manoharan? That’s unrealistic.

“It will take about a year. The site is in a gazetted green belt, and there has been no planning or building plan approvals for the temple… they are lawyers too, so they should know.”

He also said the land had to be degazetted under section 64 of the National Land Code before it could be handed over and to do this, there must first be a public hearing.

The temple committee this week paid RM140,000 as consultation fees to Ikram for its inspection of the temple site and it is expected that a number of people, including devotees, would also chip-in to help meet the cost of the renovation.

In April 2008, the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya city halls ordered the closure of the Sivan Temple after extension work on the temple was deemed to have caused a landslide on the Petaling Jaya side.

Yesterday, two former leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) declared the Sivan Temple open to public.