Approval to construct a 29-storey condominium next to Batu Caves was renewed by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) before a new councillors were appointed in 2008, Selangor state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said today.

The renewal was made by the Selayang Municipal Council on May 31, 2008, but the new Pakatan Rakyat nominated councillors were only sworn-in and briefed on their duties on July 5, 2008.

NONEXavier said the approval for the condominium was first given by the BN government of Selangor in August 2007, but this approval had lapsed.

Pakatan Rakyat took over Selangor on March 8, 2008.

"If you recall, there was a quarry there run by Dolomite Corporation Bhd and there was a huge protest for the quarry to stop operations.

"The BN leaders then stopped the quarry, but the land was okayed for development," Xavier said when contacted.

He said preliminary checks by the state government showed that the condominium project received approval from all relevant agencies except from the Department of Environment.

"The Department of Environment objected to it in 2007 but yet the approval was granted," he said, contradicting the claim by MPS yesterday that the developer had fulfilled all necessary requirements.

Xavier, who is in charge of health, estate workers, poverty and compassionate government, added that the executive council has extended the stop work order pending a "thorough report" from MPS.
"We will safeguard the interest of Batu Caves due to its historical and religious significance to the people of Malaysia," he said.

The stop work order was issued on Tuesday following objections from NGOs and the Batu Caves Hindu temple committee, but the committee said protests would continue until MPS revoked the development order.


Xavier claimed that the objections were politically-motivated as the condominium sales gallery had been located next to the Batu Caves for four years now, during which the temple committee had never objected.

He said the BN was "making use of the temple issue, knowing that Indians are sensitive to matters involving places of worship".

"It's not a new thing, and MPS does not have record of a single objection letter sent in by the temple committee.

"In any case, the buildings inside the Batu Caves temple area never had any council approval, either. The one (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak and wife) Rosmah Mansor sat in (during Thaipusam) does not have a certificate of fitness," he noted

Xavier said construction work had not commenced for the 29-storey condominium and that the area "is just a flat piece of land now".

He also denied a report in The Star quoting him as saying that there was nothing wrong with a 29-storey building next to the temple.

"I made no such statement to The Star and have written to ask them to retract it," he said.