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By EDWARD R. HENRY
edward@thestar.com.my

Monday February 25, 2013

2013-02-25 BktGasing1

PETALING Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has obtained a magistrate court order to demolish Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing after a council report recommended it to be torn down as it posed an imminent danger to people’s lives and properties in the surrounding area.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the temple building was in danger of collapsing as further rains could weaken the soil strength.

A slope failure could trigger a major landslide that would see earth coming down on Jalan 5/60, close to Fraser Towers apartments.

“Landslides had occurred of late. Now, Sivan Temple is in imminent danger of collapse.

“MBPJ has to take immediate steps to eliminate the danger,” she said.

The mayor stressed that the court order was requested “in the best interests of the people, to protect the lives of devotees, people living at Fraser Towers and the students of SMK Taman Petaling that is located below the apartments.

“The council’s legal department has served the court order to the chairman of the interim temple committee, T. Maharathan, and solicitors of Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu.

“Both parties have been informed about the demolition exercise.

“We respect the religious sensitivity and have given full responsibility to the temple committee to handle the demolition exercise.

“But before it is done, MBPJ’s Buildings Department must be briefed on the methods of demolition to ensure no untoward incidents,” she said.

2013-02-25 BktGasing2

She added that the seriousness of the Sivan Temple issue was brought up at the Selangor Economic Action Council and at the state exco meeting on Feb 13.

The MBPJ engineering department had taken into account Maharathan’s proposal to demolish the temple based on safety concerns and had agreed to it.

Alinah said the council would assist and was willing to offer advice if required.

“We assure the committee and devotees that the land on Bukit Gasing remains for the Hindu temple.

“For the new temple, building plans must be submitted and our officers will facilitate the process,” she said.

On Feb 1, StarMetro highlighted that the concrete roof of the Sivan Temple had tilted and more cracks were visible.

Sculptures of huge deities, a cow and the ornate tower on the roof of the two-level building had tilted and Maharathan had said he was worried the temple would collapse in view of the rainy spell.

After several landslips along Jalan 5/60, Alinah visited the area early this month and instituted immediate measures such as earthworks to strengthen the slopes in two areas where tarpaulin sheets were used to cover the bare terrain.

U-shaped box drains had also been constructed, costing about RM1mil.

Alinah said the council’s engineering department had suggested nail soiling as a long-term measure, along with building a network of slope drains that would cost MBPJ RM3.2mil.

21 December 2012 | NST

THERE are plans to tear down and rebuild the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing which is in a bad shape. Chairman of the interim temple committee, Maharathan Thuraiswamy, said there was a need to scale down the temple which is located on top of the hill due to safety reasons.

The committee plans to demolish the existing two-storey structure and build a single-floor temple.

“I have plans to demolish the existing double-storey temple and build a single-storey temple. I was advised by my engineers that due to the poor workmanship of the temple it is unsafe for public.

“No matter who cares for this place, it should be about the safety of this place. We are transparent and we don’t want this temple to be politicised.”

“Due to the rainy season, we fear  the building may collapse,” said Maharathan.

A check by Streets recently found the temple in a deplorable condition. Long lines of cracks had appeared on the roof and walls and water had also seeped through the roof. There was also a large pool of stagnant water at the rooftop which could become a potential mosquito-breeding ground.

Mini “stalactites” had also formed from sections of the roof, believed caused by water which had been seeping through the walls over the years.

The poor condition of the temple was highlighted in a letter sent by Maharathan to the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim office stating the committee’s intention to rebuild the temple.

The letter was forwarded to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the matter was subsequently raised during the full-board meeting on Wednesday.

However, during the full-board meeting chaired by Deputy Mayor Puasa Md Taib, he said the council would not make any decision on the matter and would leave it to the state government related to the matter.

State executive councillor Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar, who had been tasked to look into the matter, said he was not in favour of demolishing the temple. However, he would discuss the matter further with the council and the new mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad.

The Sivan Temple started as a shrine some 40 years ago. About six years ago, it was rebuilt to the present size by certain parties without the approval from the authorities. It is now a two-storey temple with three multi-purpose halls.

The temple was closed for over six years due to the rebuilding works. However, small groups of devotees still pray daily at a smaller section of the temple.

When the temple was rebuilt, it incorporated gigantic architectures depicting religious idols. Some had claimed that the huge temple complex was unsafe as it was located on a hilltop which was prone to landslides.

In fact, the expansion of the temple made it to the headlines in 2007 after it caused a landslip.

The council issued a stop-work order and compound to the then temple management for violating the Street, Drainage and Building Act.

The landslip was rectified by the former temple management and was later certified by Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) in 2008.

The reconstruction work at the temple soon intensified. The council later received a complaint that a portion of the land facing the KL side of Bukit Gasing had given way.

MBPJ issued a second stop-work order and requested a proposal plan for the temple reconstruction works.

A 150m landslide occurred at the northeast of Sivan Temple on Jan 6 last year.

Work to stabilise the slope was allowed to continued by the former temple committee.

Not long after that a court tussle involving two groups claiming to be the temple’s rightful committees began.

On Oct 8 this year, the Shah Alam High Court held that Maharathan Thuraiswamy and four others could continue managing the temple until the disposal of a suit brought by them against Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu and three others which is still pending.

Cracks appearing on the roof of the Sivan Temple in Bukit GasingCracks appearing on the roof of the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing. Pic by Owee Ah Chun

Read more: Unsafe Sivan Temple may be torn down – Central – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/streets/central/unsafe-sivan-temple-may-be-torn-down-1.189559#ixzz2G1BmeISV

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