Hindraf: Teng did no wrong on guidelines for temples, churches

P-Waytha--Teng-Chang-KimPETALING JAYA: Hindraf has come to the defence of Selangor executive councillor Teng Chang Kim over the release of guidelines on the building of non-Muslim houses of worship in the state.

Saying that the Sungai Pinang assemblyman had been victimised, Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said anyone taking issue with the guidelines should look at the source of it instead.

“The town and country planning department comes under the purview of the urban wellbeing, housing and local government ministry.

“The issues such as height of non-Muslim worshipping premises, distance from Muslim residence, consent of residents, among other things, does not emanate from the state but rather, are regurgitated policies from the federal level,” Waythamoorthy said in a statement released today.

He added that such guidelines were usually wholly adopted with minor adjustment by state governments.

According to Waythamoorthy, there is usually not much scrutiny and participation from the local minority interest at both the federal and state levels.

He said the latest guideline (GP009), Garis Panduan Perancangan Tokong, Kuil, Gereja dan Gurdwara by the federal government had clearly stipulated all restrictions which in turn were adopted by the state government.

“So, it is refreshing to see a state exco member like Teng coming forward to address an issue that has been brought up to him and attempt to rectify it.

“He alone should not be held responsible as the entire Selangor state exco should be blamed for the approval of the federal government’s discriminative guidelines,” he said, emphasising the NGO’s belief that people-centric leaders like Teng were an asset to the community and should keep his position in the Selangor state government.

Meanwhile, Waythamoorthy also questioned minority community leaders in the federal cabinet who had allowed such discriminatory practices against non-Muslim houses of worship.

“The cabinet meeting on June 13, 2014 had clearly given the go-ahead for such discriminating guidelines against the other houses of worship, and that is now being adhered to by all state town and country planning departments.

“It is in the guideline that the scope entails that any buildings involving non-Muslims should be controlled. Imagine such a discriminating policy sanctioned at the federal level,” Waythamoorthy said.

He suggested that the fault lies with the federal officers who drew up the guidelines without the participation and involvement of any non-Muslim officers, nor with consultation with non-Muslim organisations pertaining to their houses of worship.