A court decision over the protracted legal tussle involving the former trustees of the Bukit Gasing Sivan temple is to be known in May.

B Nantha Kumar | March 26, 2012
PETALING JAYA: Politics almost always rears its ugly head wherever there is money and a ready audience and that includes religious institutions.
The Bukit Gasing Sivan Temple with its spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur is no different.
The temple is mired in controversy and has drawn not only the ire of devotees who once enjoyed its serenity but also hungry politicians keen on championing a “just” cause in whatever form it takes.
In the ring of contentious issues is the ongoing legal tussle between the temple trustees and a new committee led by M Maharathan, who allegedly hijacked the temple administration and forced open the shrine.
The temple which was under renovation was “closed” three years ago after the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) declared that the land on which the temple was located was unsafe.
But since the protracted legal tussle began, all renovation works have progressively come to a full halt. The case is up for decision in May.
While the main structures of the temple have been boarded up, the shrine itself is open to devotees.
But now of greater concern to some devotees is the undisclosed properties belonging to the temple.
Speaking to FMT, a temple devotee, who declined to be named, said the former trustees are refusing to reveal details of the assets belonging to the temple.
According to the devotee, the temple was built during the British era by the residents living in and around Petaling Jaya.
“The temple became famous due to special prayers and the devotees around the Klang Valley very often visited the temple and this caused politicians to encircle the temple,” he said.
Report lodged with MACC
He claimed that in 2006, the former trustees bought the temple for RM60,000 from its caretaker.
“As far I know, this is the first temple that has been bought with the purpose of administration.
“Why were the trustees willing to pay RM60,000 to buy the temple? he asked.
The devotee claimed that following the purchase, an official committee was formed and former MIC president S Samy Vellu’s wife, Indrani, became the president.
Four others – R Ramasamy, Dr AP Gunasingam, M Ghandinathan and G Rajakrishnan – were appointed trustees.
“Since then, no one has questioned the affairs of the temple. The trustees had a free run on all the money donated by the public until the temple was closed to public,” he said.
He claimed that they (devotees) had lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) with regard to temple assets which were allegedly in the name of one of the trustees.
“We have no details of the properties worth RM11.9 million and a durian plantation worth RM800,000. We had already lodged a report with the MACC but nothing has happened,” he said.
He also alleged that one particular trustee controlled the temple administration, and that as a result of a fall-out with this trustee, another trustee, G Rajakrishnan, had resigned.
Call for independent probe
Rajakrishnan’s statutory declaration was forwarded to FMT and he confirmed that he had resigned due to his unhappiness over the manner the temple administration was being run.
According to the document, Rajakrishnan called for an independent body to be set up to probe into the whereabouts of the temple’s assets.
Meanwhile, a source close to Indrani told FMT that the “powerful” trustee had resigned from the board “sometime in late 2010”, citing health reasons.
The source declined to discuss the issue except to say that the court registrar had two weeks ago advised them not to make public statements as the case was in court awaiting decision.
However, the source did say that all documents was with their lawyers.
Indrani and the said trustee could not be contacted for comment.