Temple demolition: Report lodged against police ‘inaction’

via malaysiakini.com

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Jun 2, 08 6:21pm


A police report was filed today against Klang district police chief ACP Mohamad Mat Yusop for allegedly not acting on “tens of police reports” that have been lodged over a land transfer and clearance works involving the Sri Maha Nagamuthu Karumariamman temple near Jalan Kapar.

PKR’s Kapar member of Parliament S Manikavasagam filed the report this morning, a day after residents living near the 80-year-old temple and activists demonstrated against its planned demolition by the ‘owner’ of the temple.(LAND)

“Tens of police reports have been lodged over several years, but nothing has been done,” Manikavasagam told Malaysiakini.

According to Manikavasagam, workers for the current owner – who allegedly acquired the one-hectare land on which the temple stands through dubious means – had already broken parts of the roof of the temple and broken or taken down the statues contained inside.

“We’re still doing research regarding the owner, but we believe the owner is connected to a local state assemblyperson and has development plans for the land. We believe the land costs up to RM3 million, maybe more,” said Manikavasagam.

He said numerous police reports had been lodged since the temple caretaker E Muthu Kumar discovered the land was transferred to somebody else.

Muthu claimed that he had lived on the land for over 50 years and that his father had been given the land by its original landowner.


A protracted struggle

The original landowner, Harbhajan Singh, is said to have migrated to India in 1973 and died there in the 1980s.

In 1996, however, Muthu found that the land had earlier been transferred to one ‘Lin Chee Yong’, who obtained in 2000 a Shah Alam High Court order for the land to be vacated.

A protracted struggle then ensued between Lin and Muthu, which saw contempt charges as well as a spate of police reports being filed between the parties against the other.

In 2007, Muthu applied for the Shah Alam High Court to set aside its earlier decision on the basis that the land transfer was allegedly “fraudulently obtained”.

Muthu’s lawyer Dr SN Pathmanabhan said this claim was based on the finding that Harbhajan’s identity card (IC) number as contained in the memorandum of transfer to Lin actually belonged to a Chinese woman residing in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

He also said that contrary to the practice of Punjabis of his generation, Harbhajan – who would have been in his 80s in 1996 – had written in “very precise English”.

“The signature, furthermore, did not look like that of an 80-plus year old but that of a much stronger, younger person,” he told Malaysiakini.

Pathmanabhan also said the payment of RM850,000 that Harbhajan allegedly received for the sale of his land actually never materialised.

Over and above all of these reasons, he added, was the fact that Harbhajan had died in India in the 1980s but supposedly entered in 1996 into a transaction to sell the land concerned.


Police inaction

Pathmanabhan said the Shah Alam High Court had set Aug 27 this year to hear the application to set aside the 2000 court order.

Parallel to the case, said Manikavasagam, his concern today was for the police to address the questions of Muthu and the patrons of the temple as to why they had not acted on the numerous reports lodged on Lin’s efforts to clear the land.

These efforts were taken despite the ongoing court proceedings and included efforts to dislodge Muthu, the disconnection of the temple’s water supply, and damage done to the gates and other parts of the temple building, he said.

On Oct 1, 2007, a police report was lodged claiming threats had been made to the lives of the Muthu and his family, Manikavasagam added.

“We lodged the police report against ACP Mohamad Mat because the police had not acted on that and the many other reports that had been lodged,” said Manikavasagam.

ACP Mohamad Mat could not be reached for comments.



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