Deepavali gift for Bandar Puchong Jaya temple

The owner of the land on which the 135-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Bandar Puchong Jaya sits, has agreed to surrender the land to the state government, thus precluding the possibility of the temple being demolished for a future project.

Speaking to devotees at the temple this afternoon, assemblywoman Teresa Kok said the landowner, IOI Holdings, decided to give up the 3600 sq ft after prolonged negotiations with the state government.

She said that IOI has undertaken (surat akur janji) to handover the land the state government: “As soon as the state government receives the land, we will gazette it as temple land,” she said.

“This is a Deepavali gift to the temple committee,” she said to applause.

Kok, who is the State Senior Exco Member for Investment, Industry and Trade, denied that IOI would be ‘rewarded’ for the move, but said the state would be working together with the property giant to develop Puchong.

“I think they (IOI) realised it is important to have harmony in development and also to keep the temple at this site,” she (below, second left) added.

The temple, which was founded in 1887, was faced with eviction as IOI had filed a suit against it in 1996 to claim ownership of the land.

Situated on lot 17403, the temple was acquired by Syed Kechik Sdn Bhd in 1983 when  Puchong was largely a rubber estate known as Castlefield.

Temple committee member P. Yugapuriyam claimed that when IOI took over in 1991, it sought the assistance of temple devotees to help relocate a number of burial plots and altars.

He said over the years the temple has attracted a good number of devotees and embarked on countless educational and welfare activities.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, state exco member, Dr Xavier Jayakumar, MPSJ councillors K. Arumugam and Michael Tamil, were also present at the event.

Jayakumar expects it will take six months to gazette the temple land, as IOI needs to surrender the land to the District Land Office first.

He also said the state government has given out 120 plots of land to places of worship other than mosques since 2008.

“We face problems because there are too many demands from devotees of all religions, but we have so far been able to cope with it,” he said.

Gobind, meanwhile, praised the committee members for their persistent effort in retaining the temple at its original site.