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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Devotees win bid to stop Chinese temple demolition

High Court rules against developer, says Hock Sui Tong Temple is not a 'trespasser simpliciter' that occupied three plots of land at Taman Kepong.
Lawyer P Uthayakumar (centre) and former deputy home minister Tan Chai Ho (4th from right) with Hock Sui Tong Temple devotees at the KL High Court, after winning their bid to stop the temple’s demolition.
KUALA LUMPUR: A group of Taoist devotees from the Hock Sui Tong Temple in Kepong here won their bid to stop the demolition of their place of worship by a developer.
High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab ruled in chambers that Kepong Development Sdn Bhd had named the wrong defendants, namely Ng Ah Sang and those whose names were unknown as occupants of the three plots of land at Lot 19126, 19127 and 19128 at Mukim Batu in an area known as Taman Kepong, in the lawsuit.
Lawyer P Uthayakumar, who represented the Taoist devotees, including former deputy minister Tan Chai Ho, said Ng was not a proper party to be named in the lawsuit.
Lawyer P Uthayakumar (right) and former deputy home minister Tan Chai Ho (left) speaking to reporters at the KL High Court, after the devotees won their bid to stop the temple’s demolition.
“The judge said even if the developer had named the proper parties, the Chinese temple is not a ‘trespasser simpliciter’,” Uthayakumar told reporters after the decision in chambers.
Uthayakumar added that the ruling meant that the temple was not a trespasser or squatter on the land as Kepong Development had said in their affidavit.
The court also ordered Kepong Development to pay costs amounting to RM3,000 to the temple.
Last December, Tan and the devotees applied to be defendants in the lawsuit taken by Kepong Development against Ng, the caretaker and the unknown occupants.
Kepong Development filed a lawsuit on Dec 7 last year seeking to demolish the temple and evict the devotees.
The devotees had asked the developer to relocate the temple to another location, instead of tearing it down.
Tan and the devotees had also gathered outside the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters earlier this year, urging the authorities to save their place of worship.
The Hock Sui Tong temple was erected more than 63 years ago and is a place of worship for over 1,000 devotees.- FMT

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