Khir Toyo says his temple enclave would have prevented row

(The Malaysian Insider) Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo today rehashed a proposal for an Indian religious enclave for one Sikh and six Hindu temples in the city’s industrial heartland, arguing it would have solved the current temple row in the city’s Section 23 neighbourhood.

But the proposal had been rejected by the city’s Indian community, including representatives from Barisan Nasional (BN), as ludicrous and impractical.

The former mentri besar, who is now state opposition leader, scheduled a press conference today at the site in Section 18 near the Cadbury factory, to defend his administration’s efforts in solving the temple issue.

He also defended last Friday’s cow-head protest, saying no offence was meant, and that the protestors wanted to compare what he said was the stupidity of the animal to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government.

A group claiming to be Malay-Muslim residents of Section 23 had marched to the state secretariat last Friday to oppose the state’s plan to allow the construction of a Hindu temple relocated from another location with a bigger Muslim majority.

The group threatened bloodshed while dragging a cow’s head to the gates of the state secretariat where they proceeded to stamp on and spit at the head. Their act has sparked a major uproar as Hindus consider the cow a sacred animal.

The protestors also claimed Section 23 was more than 90 per cent Muslim, and that having a temple nearby would disrupt their own religious practice.

But a check showed that the neighbourhood was multi-racial, with Indians making up more than a quarter of the population.

Khir defended his administration today, saying the Selangor State Economic Development Corporation had spent RM600,000 to lay down the infrastructure for the Indian religious enclave, which was divided into seven lots measuring 10,000 sq meters each.

“Where else in the country has a state government spent so much money for places of worships of other religions?” he said.

He said site was supposed to accommodate Hindu and Sikh temples from throughout Shah Alam and came ready with paved roads and parking lots.

However he said the Section 19 temple committee refused to accept the site and PKNS then found and alternative site in Section 22.

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