BATU CAVES: Falling way below the organiser’s grand 100,000 target, only some 300 people flocked to the Batu Caves temple to protest against a proposed high-rise development project.
The two 29-storey condominium project, which was approved by the Barisan Nasional-led Selangor government in 2007, is slated to be built adjacent to the iconic temple.
The temple committee said construction of the project would cause instability to the temple structures and also the world’s tallest Lord Murugan statue.
The protesters held up banners that read “Stop” against the backdrop of the Lord Murugan statue this morning.
They also inked their support for a signature drive organised by the temple committee.
“The project was approved in 2007 by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS).
“We must know who sat in the council that time. Who approved this?” said temple committee chairman R Nadarajah in his speech.
He said the same approach must also be used to determine the “culprit” who issued another building plan approval in June, 2008.
Nadarajah also accused the Pakatan Rakyat state government of threatening the temple committee.
Citing a press statement by exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar where the latter had said the state government should not give in to the temple committee’s demands, Nadarajah claimed that it seemed like the state government was indirectly pressuring the temple committee to withdraw the protest.
“However, we will not budge,” he said.
“It is our right and we will fight to save the temple at any cost,” he added.
‘I don’t know who to blame’
At a press conference later, Nadarajah said he would give the state government a month to cancel the project permanently, failing which he would bring the matter to court.
He said he would name MPS and the developer in the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, he also defended the low turnout, considering the hot weather and Hari Raya Haji holiday.
Asked who should be blamed for the saga, the temple chairman who sat beside ex-MIC president S Samy Vellu paused at answering, glaring at the journalist who asked the question.
“You ask me who should be blamed, I also don’t know I should blame who,” he said.
NGO Malaysia Nature Society representative Teckwyn Lim then chipped in, saying that the Selangor government now had the power to stop the project.
“If they don’t stop the project, then they should be blamed,” he added.
Foreign Minister A Kohilan Pillay, who was a MPS councillor in 2007, joined the fray by saying that the BN-led council was only responsible for the first planning approval.
“It was just an approval for them to carry out soil tests. It had not come to the stage when they announced it would be a 29-storey building,” he said.
He blamed the Pakatan state government for the subsequent building approval issued in 2008 and the project marketing approval issued in August this year.
Both Kohilan and Nadarajah said they were only informed about the launching of the project last week.
MIC president G Palanivel, who yesterday called on the Indian community to stage nationwide protests with regard to this issue, was himself not present at Batu Caves today. Also missing were MIC deputy president Dr S Subramaniam, vice president SK Devamany and numerous central working committee (CWC) members.