Penang temple dispute: PDC to evict devotees’ body

ramasamy PDCPETALING JAYA: The Penang Development Corporation has been directed to evict a devotees’ association from a Hindu temple in Batu Kawan and hand over management of the temple to the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB), deputy chief minister II P Ramasamy said today.

The decision comes after a High Court decision on Thursday in which the board had sought management control over the temple. In a statement today, Ramasamy said the court had awarded the management of Sri Dewi Muthu Mariamman Temple at Batu Kawan Estate to the association.

The court had held that the temple sat on land owned by the Penang Development Corporation and the board had failed to exercise its powers over administrative functions, he said.

Ramasamy, who is chairman of the endowments board and state assemblyman for Perai, said an appeal would be filed against the court decision within a month.

He said PDC, as land owners, had been directed to give notice to the association to vacate the premises and hand over the temple management to the board. He accused members of the devotees’ association of having mismanaged the temple for years and of having damaged its reputation.

Ramasamy said the PDC had placed all Hindu temples, burial grounds and other Hindu-related properties in the Batu Kawan area under the board two years ago. The actual ownership transfer was taking time, but the board hoped to settle the matter within the next six months.

“It is a just a matter of time before the ownership becomes registered under the PHEB,” he said.

Ramasamy said the board was also looking into using its powers under Section 4 of the Hindu Endowments Ordinance, as mentioned by the judge, so that management of the temple could revert to the PHEB as soon as possible.