Tuesday 27 September 2011

Demolition threat over Orang Asli chapel in Malacca

The Alor Gajah Municipal Council has ordered that a chapel located in the Machap Umboo Orang Asli settlement in Malacca be demolished on grounds that it is an illegal structure.

Last Saturday, chapel caretaker Puanheerby Siam was served with the demolition notice dated Sept 20 by the council's building department, stating the building was in violation of Section 70 of the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act 1974.

NONEThat particular section regulates the construction of new buildings and Pastor Joseph Boon Chai, who oversees the chapel, said no specific reason was given by the authority for its action.

According to him, officials from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), Malacca Islamic Religious Council (Maim) and Department of Orang Asli Affairs informed Puanheerby two months ago that the chapel was illegal because it did not have permission from the local council.

"But why are Jakim and Maim involved in this case? We are puzzled. What is the main motive behind this?" Joseph said when contacted today.

He argued that the area has been categorised as an Orang Asli settlement, therefore the residents have every right to construct buildings within the area.

There are about 20 households in this Temuan settlement, which has been occupied by the Orang Asli since the days of the Japanese Occupation.
The Muslims there have a surau
The construction of the 20ft by 30ft chapel was completed in March this year to serve 11 Christian families from the Machap Umboo settlement and two more Orang Asli villages nearby.

It is under the pastoral care of Jus Chapel based in Kamping Orang Asli Jus in Selandar, Malacca. Jus Chapel is a registered church with the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) Malaysia, under the mission name of Jus Chapel Tribal Ministry.

To date, Jus Chapel has built five chapels in various Orang Asli settlements.

Joseph also said two of the five chapels had faced the same problem before, but after they demanded that the authority issues official letters detailing the reasons for the demolition, it kept silent and eventually dropped the matter.

The village has only two Muslims, but the authority had built a surau for them, he said.

Joseph revealed that the matter has been raised with the NECF and a legal panel has been set up to tackle the issue.

"Depending on the situation, we plan to challenge the demolition order in court," he added.

1 comment:

  1. The Malaysian government policy is primarily to Islamize Malaysia. The definition of Malay embraces Islam as the most important criteria. Non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak are given “special benefits” as an inducement to convert. Of course, Bumiputras are given “special privileges” because they are Muslims. Non-Muslims are continuously threatened with violence and that threats can come from a government that does not respect the human right of religious freedom. Muslims are arrested on suspicion of conversion. Christian and Hindu places of worship are destroyed or desecrated. Malaysia’s policy of Islamisation is to be rid of the Non-Malay/Muslim population. This is dangerous as will increase the already plagued Java, South Thailand, Mindano and other Islamic fundamental areas to demand for more Islamic principles to be incorporated in the day-to- day lives of Non-Muslims. Nothing good came out of countries that prescribe Islam-only violence and corruption.