//Residents witness demolition of buildings, including 100-year-old Hindu temple, on land sold to UTM

Residents witness demolition of buildings, including 100-year-old Hindu temple, on land sold to UTM

30 Nov 2006, New Strait Times ,

R. Sittamparam

JOHOR BARU, THU.:  More than 1,000 families from the former Uniroyal Linden Estate in Skudai saw the last of their heritage buildings wiped out when their cherished 100-year-old temple was demolished today.

The Sri Muthu Mariamman temple was bulldozed by contractors appointed by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia which had last Tuesday won a court order to evict the temple.

The committee of the Jalan Johor Baru-Pontian temple had been trying to save the temple, seeking help from the MIC and even the State government since 1992 when UTM first made claims on the land.

Temple president, A. Subramaniam, 51, said his family had been looking after the temple for over three generations.

"Soon after the sale of the plantation land to UTM in 1975, most of the menfolk lost their jobs and subsequently in 1987, UTM asked us to move out of our quarters.

"We were lucky to obtain low-cost houses through the State MIC,” he said.

A UTM lawyer, who did not want to be named, said the court’s eviction order was executed smoothly as the temple authorities had given their cooperation.

He said there were no protests or disturbance while their contractors demolished the temple structure which had already been evacuated by the temple authorities.

The temple committee is waiting to move the deities to an alternative land provided by the State government at Jalan Suasa 4 in Taman Sri Skudai.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Hindu Sangam president, Datuk A. Vaithilingam issued a statement today condemning UTM for destroying a century-old Hindu heritage place of worship.

"While it is true the Education Ministry acquired the land for UTM, the authorities should have been fully aware that the old temple existed there."