Task force tells Batu Caves temple committee to quit

Reform BC task force chairman Arun Doraisamy claims the temple committee members failed to safeguard the assets of the Batu Caves temple.

PETALING JAYA: The Reform Batu Caves (Reform BC) task force has demanded the resignation of all members of a committee managing the Batu Caves temple to make room for fresh elections.

It also wants an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held to remove the eight board members of the Sri Maha Mariamman Devastanam temple committee within seven days.

The task force alleged that the eight, who were listed as trustees for a plot of land belonging to the temple, were involved in a suspicious land deal.

The eight are temple committee chairman Nadaraja Retnam, his son Sivakumar, Krishnamoorthy Vyapuri, Alagan @ Alake Perisamy, S Argedas @ Suppiah Haridas, Velugopal Munusamy, Raman Kalimuthu and R Subramaniam.

Reform BC task force chairman Arun Doraisamy alleged that the 69 members of the temple committee, who represents 23 subgroups, were complicit in the mismanagement of temple assets, including the land deal.

“They failed in their duty to safeguard the assets of the Batu Caves temple. There have been issues involving the committee all this while. The good name of Batu Caves has been tainted and the whole team must be held responsible,” Arun told reporters today.

He said the task force would seek the intervention of the attorney-general if its demands were not met, adding that it had collected 30,000 signatures calling for their resignation.

The task force lauded the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for launching an investigation against temple officials over allegations on the land deal after it lodged reports with the MACC on July 26 and 27 last year.

It said it also lodged another report with MACC in January over a property owned by one of the officials.

In Kuala Lumpur, Tamil Malar Daily claimed that the temple committee had been financing a top office bearer’s legal suits against several individuals totalling RM1.5 million.

“He is able to maintain the suits because the temple is paying for all his legal costs and expenses,” claimed SM Periasamy, the daily’s general manager, at its headquarters here today.

Tamil Malar legal adviser K Saraswathy also claimed the official engaged “the most expensive firm” to sue the paper and several others, which court documents showed was funded by the temple committee.

Saraswathy said the paper had lodged complaints since 2017 without any results.

She said the temple’s funds could only be used for social, educational and administrative purposes.

“If the temple wants to use its funds to institute legal action on behalf of its members, it has to obtain consent from the attorney-general,” she added.

It was learned that the MACC had remanded three people detained in connection with its investigation into the alleged misuse of temple funds.