An inter-faith group has urged Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and Penang Port Commission (PPC) to apologise unconditionally over the demolition of a Hindu temple.
The group - the Penang chapter of Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) - said PPSB and PPC must also rebuild the temple.
The group said in a press statement today that the demolition of the temple has hurt the feelings of the Hindu community and remedial action must be taken to calm the situation.
It singled out PPSB chairperson and Umno's Teluk Bahang assemblyperson Hilmi Yahaya (left) and PPC chairperson Dr Chua Soi Lek, who is also MCA president, to respond to the demolition.
"We are very concerned that until now, there has been no apology from Hilmi or Chua. Nor is there any effort to rebuild the temple.
"MCCBCHST and the Penang Hindu Sangam are willing to mediate for both men to resolve the matter," it said.
The 40-year-old Sri Muniswarar Temple located at the Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal was reportedly torn down by PPSB on April 20, without prior notification to the caretakers.
In the state assembly sitting that followed, Hilmi said PPSB tore down the temple because it was situated too close to chemical pipelines.
He said an officer had briefed him that the temple had to be demolished because the safety of the devotees was being compromised.
Despite being constantly badgered by backbenchers, Hilmi did not apologise for the temple demolition, but admitted that PPSB had made a rash decision.
Hilmi did not offer any compensation either, and instead called on the state government to alienate land for a new temple.