Hindus fear takeover of their temples in Malaysia

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Malaysian government is proposing the formation of a Hindu Endowment Board (HEB) in all states with a sizeable Hindu population is to manage all Hindu temples. Hindus view this move of the Malaysian government with suspicion. 

To assuage the fears of the Hindu community, a government spokesperson has said that it is not the aim of the board to take over temples. There has been some misrepresentation of the functions of the board by some individuals who want to settle old scores with some temple managements in the country who were closely aligned with the BN government. The board will serves to protect existing temples, work closely with existing temple committees, and more importantly find ways and means to advance the religious, social and economic interests of Hindu or Indians in the country.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. The constitution of Malaysia declares that Islam is the only religion of true Malay people and that natives are required to be Muslims.[22] Conversion from Islam to Hinduism (or another religion) is against the law, but the conversion of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians to Islam is welcomed. The government actively promotes the spread of Islam in the country.[6] The law requires that any Hindu (or Buddhist or Christian) who marries a Muslim must first convert to Islam, otherwise the marriage is illegal and void.[6] If one of the Hindu parents adopts Islam, the children automatically become Muslim without the consent of the second parent.[5][23]

In recent decades, there have been increasing reports of religious persecution of Hindus, along with other minority religions, by various state governments of Malaysia and its Sharia courts.[5][8] Hindu temples built on private property, and built long before Malaysian independence, have been demolished by Malaysian government officials in recent years.[9]

After a violent conflict in Penang between Hindus and Muslims in March 1998, the government announced a nationwide review of unlicensed Hindu temples and shrines. However, implementation was not vigorous and the program was not a subject of public debate.

Between April to May 2006, several Hindu temples were demolished by city hall authorities in the country, accompanied by violence against Hindus.[25] On 21 April 2006, the Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was reduced to rubble after the city hall sent in bulldozers.[26] The authorities’ excuse was that these temples were unlicensed and squatting on government land.

The president of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam in Selangor had been helping to organise efforts to stop the local authorities in the Muslim dominated city of Shah Alam from demolishing a 107-year-old Hindu temple. The growing Islamization in Malaysia is a cause for concern to many Malaysians who follow minority religions such as Hinduism.[27]

On 11 May 2006, armed city hall officers from Kuala Lumpur forcefully demolished part of a 90-year-old suburban temple that serves more than 3,000 Hindus. The “Hindu Rights Action Force”, a coalition of several NGO’s, have protested these demolitions by lodging complaints with the Malaysian Prime Minister.[28]

According to a lawyer for the Hindu Rights Action Task Force, a Hindu temple is demolished in Malaysia once every three weeks.[29]

In 2007, Malaysian Hindu organisations protested the destruction of Hindu temples by the Malaysian regime. On 30 October 2007 the 100-year-old Maha Mariamman Temple in Padang Jawa was demolished by Malaysian authorities. Following that demolition, Works Minister and head of the Malaysian Indian Congress Samy Vellu, who is of Indian origin, said that Hindu temples built on government land were still being demolished despite his appeals to the various state chief ministers.

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Sources : Wikipedia, Picture of Batu By Aruna at ml.wikipedia – Transferred from ml.wikipedia by User:Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link, Picture of temple By Kalaivani SomiahOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


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