DEVOTEES OF HISTORICAL KEPONG TEMPLE FIGHT TO STOP ITS DEMOLITION
KUALA LUMPUR: A group of 168 Taoist devotees, including former deputy home minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho, are fighting to stop the demolition of a 63-year-old temple.
Tan and the other devotees have applied to be defendants in a suit brought by Kepong Development Sdn Bhd to demolish the historical Taoist Hock Sui Tong Temple and evict the devotees.
In the suit filed on Dec 7, Kepong Development has named the temple caretaker Ng Ah Sang, 42, and those whose names were unknown who occupied the land Lot 19126, 19127 and 19128 at Mukim Batu in an area known as Taman Kepong here as the defendants.
Counsel P. Uthayakumar, who acted for the defendants, told reporters after case management before High Court Deputy Registrar Nor Fauzani Mohd Nordin yesterday that the temple residents have been relocated to a low-cost flat in Laman Damai in Kepong.
“All they want is one acre of land to relocate the historical temple for them to fulfil their spiritual needs,” he said.
He also said the court fixed Jan 12 as the next case management to be heard before High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab.
In their application filed on Thursday, Tan and the devotees are seeking to become first defendant to replace the temple caretaker.
Meanwhile, the Hock Sui Tong Devotees Association Taoist Temple in Kepong is applying to become the second defendant replacing those unknown people said to be occupying on three plots of land in the suit.
The devotees said Kepong Development has intentionally or by mala fide or by avoiding or failed to name Tan as a party although it knew that Tan was one of the patrons and main devotee of the temple.
They alleged that the association has long been recognised and registered with Registrar of Societies but was not named as a party in the suit.
In his court papers, Ng said the temple was built by the devotees’ ancestors in 1953 when they were rubber tappers and self-employed in the Kepong Rubber Plantation area with the consent of the plantation’s manager.
Ng said Kepong Development bought the land from the plantation owner in 1970 and the company knew about the workers’ houses, the workers and the temple where the company later gave oral consent for them to stay on the land.