Friday, April 18, 2008

100-Year-Old Hindu Temple In Malaysia Razed

A 100-year-old Hindu temple in Malaysia has been demolished following a court order. The deities will move to a new site provided by the authorities.

Contractors appointed by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) bulldozed the Sri Muthu Mariamman temple Thursday at Skudai in Johor in southern Malaysia after a court order Tuesday seeking vacation of the temple premises, reported the New Straits Times Friday.

The temple was situated at the Uniroyal Linden Estate, a rubber plantation that was home to around 1,000 families.

UTM, a public university with its main campus in Skudai, had first made claims on the plantation in 1992. Prior to that, in 1975, Malaysia's education ministry had bought off the plantation land for UTM.

Since 1992, there have been various attempts to save the temple. Help was sought from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the premier political party representing the Indian community in Malaysia, and the Johor state government.

Ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus, comprise around eight percent of Malaysia's total population of around 24 million.

The New Straits Times report quoted temple president A. Subramaniam as saying that his family had been looking after the temple for three generations.

"Soon after the sale of the plantation land to UTM in 1975, most menfolk lost their jobs and subsequently in 1987 UTM asked us to move out of our quarters," he told the newspaper. "We were lucky to obtain low-cost houses through MIC."

Temple authorities are planning to move the deities to another location provided by the Johor state government.

A UTM lawyer told the daily on condition of anonymity that the demolition process was carried out smoothly and there were no protests or demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Hindu Sangam president A. Vaithilingam has condemned the demolition.

"While it is true the education ministry acquired the land for UTM, the authorities should have been fully aware that the old temple existed there," he said in a statement.

***** Not surprising really. UTM has for a long time been one of the main dens of ethnic chauvinism and religious fanaticism and their whole administrative line-up from top to bottom is infested with religious zealots.

UTM has its origins in the Technical School and subsequently the Technical College at
Jalan Gurney (now Jalan Semarak) Kuala Lumpur, then an internationally recognised college of engineering. The Maktab Teknik as it was referred to in Malay has produced engineers, surveyors and technical assistants of the highest calibre.

Its decline as a centre of excellence started after the May 13 1969 clashes and the implementation of the NEP, when in 1972 its name was changed to Institut Teknologi Kebangsaan and the entire administration was dramatically altered to reflect the 'new reality' of Malaysian politics then. Its first 'Rector' who subsequently became the first Vice Chancellor was a middling engineer seconded from the PWD (JKR)! Till this day he is a very respected figure in Islamic circles although his academic contributions remain a mystery.

This was followed albeit less hastily by an influx of lecturers more known for their religious inclination than academic excellence. This less hasty influx was due more to a severe dearth of those from the 'favoured group' rather than any altruistic intention of not wishing to disrupt studies. Then came the flood of students to 'level the playing field'.

The near term result was the cutting short of the careers of brilliant academics who had brought much fame and recognition to the earlier Technical College when they were by-passed in promotion exercises and sadly, mediocrity was ruthlessly favoured over merit. While many bit the bullet, stayed on and closed their eyes to the goings-on, some decided to quit and migrate to less hostile environments. I'm sure that the same scenario had been played out over and over again in many, many government departments and institutions.

The ITK was then upgraded to UTM, with its motto being 'Kerana Tuhan Untuk Manusia', shifted its main campus to Skudai, Johor and evolved into the bastion of religious intolerance it is today with the administration, academia and students all united in perpetuating a type of religious bigotry quite unparalleled elsewhere. Therefore the presence of a Hindu temple in such 'hallowed' grounds was probably an intolerable situation and the very mention of retaining it there amounting to heresy.

As I had said earlier, not surprising really.
Image - Source

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5 Comments:

Blogger mindful mariner said...

What a disgraceful thing to happen.
What harm would there be for the historic Hindu Temple remain at its original site?
Was it causing any physical impediment to the University development plans?
If not, it should have been allowed to remain there.
This wanton disregard and lack of respect for religions other than Islam in Malaysia is a clear indication of a hidden agenda by the powers that be to suppress, intimidate and sideline everything which is not considered to be in synch with the local interpretation of Islam.
Such narrow mindedness is indeed very sad.

2:27 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Nothing has changed has it? There were no demonstrations probably because it was done on the quiet when noone was aware.
MIC as usual did not do anything. Semi Value would have made some "big points" if he had come out & said something but...
When will we have REAL change & real unity in this counrty?!

3:22 PM GMT+8  
Blogger DIASPORA said...

It is only too obvious that nothing is going to change in spite of the Tsunami of 8th March 2008. The UMNOPUTRAS; MICPUTRAS and the MCA PUTRAS are still squabbling amongst themselves and we have a scenario where Ministers appointed to their hallowed positions by the PM are telling the PM to get out.

What shame that the PM had no other choices for His Majesty's Ministers.

After over 50 years, one cannot expect the mind set to change. The Politicians would have promised their cronies and sycophants the Heaven on Earth after the General Elections but it was not to be.

Providence saw to that and saved the RAKYAT from further looting of the kazanah. We are going to get lots of juicy news about the lootings that went on in the past and that may bring down the heads of a number of survivors of the Tsunami.

Nothing is going to change. The mind set wont change. Look at the Police. They are behaving still the same. Is that why detective story writers call them 'flat foot'.

Things may change to the extent where the PM will be giving in to things before the BR takes up the issues more sternly.

So, we get the retirement age of Civil servants extended to 60. Already before 55 many of them are dodgering around. What it would be at 60 would be much fun to see. Maybe this step is to keep the 'cronies' around up to and for the next elections in 5 years time. Then we have the body snatching being attended to with the Convert informing his family about his conversion. After the event. Not before the event.

Only the 'poor' civil servants are being deprived of their honorarium. They may have already spent in anticipation of the loot. But they have ways to make it up I am sure.

Hence nothing much will change. That will take a few more generations to pass may be.

9:50 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite all that corruption, despite all those shenanigans malays practise on the "others" deep in their heart, they are a most insecure lot.

Hence to destroy the "other" place of worship somehow endorses their "superiority" as such a temple denotes history of Malaya. \
A reminder they were Hindus.

Same with tearing down Bok house. How can malays accept a building, in the heart of prime KL, daily reminding them that the "other" came, prospered and built a mansion in 1929?

So destroy. It's called malay culture. Their interpretation of uplifting theirs.

6:50 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Samy Punday Vellu?

2:33 PM GMT+8  

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