The Star Metro

THE simple act of submitting building and technical plans would have saved the Sivan Temple on Bukit Gasing from a slew of negative publicity over the past one year, but the temple’s trustees had to be reminded, once again, to do that.

Selangor health, plantation workers and caring government committee chairman Dr Xavier Jeyakumar told the trustees, headed by Datin Sri Indrani, wife of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, that they ought to submit all the necessary plans to the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) engineering department if they intended to carry on with the proposed extension to the temple.

The trustees, who brought along their lawyers and technical consultants, had been invited to attend the MBPJ’s Sustainable Development committee meeting involving councillors, officials and Public Works Institute (Ikram) representatives held on Monday.

“The state has made certain regulations as far as hillslope development is concerned, and we want everyone to abide by them” DR XAVIER JAYAKUMAR

“Bukit Gasing is a very sensitive area. The state’s concern is safety, and we look forward to working with the people but we have to make sure that everything that is built is built properly,” said Xavier, who is also a member of the state committee on non-Muslim religious affairs.

“The state has made certain regulations as far as hillslope development is concerned, and we want everyone to abide by them. We don’t want any mishap.

“Recently, we have been having a lot of landslides and two children even lost their lives yesterday (Nov 30) in Ulu Yam Perdana,” he added.

He said upon receiving the plans submitted by the trustees, the council’s engineering department would work with the Ikram to ensure that the drawings were adhered to if they were approved.

He said the temple’s representatives responded positively during the meeting and pledged to be open with their future progress.

“They have also appointed a technical consultant who will work closely with our technical team, so we will be able to get a better report and a clearer picture of the situation at the site,” he said.

Xavier emphasised that the only reason the stop-work order was issued was that no building plan was ever submitted.

“You cannot have a structure built like that without any plan given to the state. The stop-work order will not be lifted until we have clarified all the technical requirements that were discussed. All remedial work has to start from then, too,” he said.

It was reported that the trustees of the temple, which was originally a shrine, had aspired to turn it into the country’s second largest Indian temple that would include a three-storey complex housing prayer and community halls, living quarters and function rooms.

“There would also be 36 meditation huts encircling the temple and a large statue of a dragon.

The temple complex was originally supposed to be 1,400 sq m in size but now it is estimated to measure 5,700sq m, which is designed to accommodate 8,000 people.

The construction of such a massive structure perched on the top of a hill long identified as landslide-prone worried residents, and a stop-work order was issued when the authorities found out that the work was being carried out without permission.

Meanwhile, it was also discovered that the land on which the temple was built on belonged to the state.

Councillor A. Thiruvenggadam said the issue of land status that would place the matter into a complex situation entailing land degazettement was not discussed during the meeting.

“Safety comes first. The state wants to put across very clearly to the temple committee that the stop-work order will not be lifted unless and until they can convince the people that all safety regulations have been adhered to,” he said.