Posted tagged ‘batu caves’

Batu Caves condo opens BN pandora box of deception

November 15, 2012

The announcement by PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to scrap the 29 storey condominium has turned the condo issue into open BN PR row. By making the announcement, Najib has flexed his muscle to impress the Indian community into believing that he can better serve them than the PR Selangor government. But he contradicted himself by transferring out the president of Majlis perbandaran Selayang (MPS) for disclosing the minutes of 2007 meeting which clearly showed that it was BN councilors who approved the project. If not for the PR government in Selangor state, the PM would not have bothered to come to Batu Caves and called to scrap the project. UMNO leaders were never bothered about Batu Caves before 2008 election.      

The authority to issue and cancel the development order of the 29 storey condominium, lies with MPS and the state government and not with Prime Minister. Being a PM he must respect the rules and regulations and promote good governance. Why in the first place the PM did not express his displeasure at those who approved the project and call for action against guilty parties. Looks like Najib wants to politicize the condo issue to win the Indian votes. Since MIC has become a liability to BN, PM Najib has to use his authority win the Indian votes.  

This project was approved without the environmental impact assessment and no thorough consultation with all the stakeholders. It is unfortunate that all these deficiencies in the approval process did not bother the PM. He was only concerned with scrapping the condo project and applying for UNESCO heritage listing. He should have expressed his concern over the approval and need to improve good governance. He failed to use the condo project to highlight the larger issue of corruption and disregard for the sanctity of the temple by the relevant government departments during the approval process.           

If Najib is really concerned about the temple and Batu caves issue, he must initiate an investigation into the temple management committee and appoint respectable people in the temple management committee. The current committee is self appointed does not reflect the wish of the community. The 1930 court order has to be done away with and let the committee come under a new Hindu endowment board. Batu Caves is a heritage and environment issue. It is a site and legacy that must protected.  Therefore the temple committee must be headed by a respectable public figure who is more transparent and accountable.

The Selangor Menteri Besar has appointed Datuk N.Sadasivam to review the whole condo project approval along with all other projects approved in the vicinity of Batu Caves. This is timely and a professional approach to a lasting solution. PM Najib should emulate the Selangor government way of handling the Batu Caves condo controversy created by BN government. PM Najib should not look at Indian community from vote bank perspective but as minorities who has equal rights.

Local Councils must be accountable for their decisions

October 30, 2012

The Malaysian nature society must be commended for monitoring and protecting the dark caves and lime stone structures within the Batu Caves. In 2007, the federal government had declared the 272ha Batu Caves Reserve as national heritage site, affirming the status of Batu Caves as a unique site of national interest. Yet the Selayang municipal council on 26 Sept 2007 approved the Dolomite Park Avenue condominium project close the Batu caves. The company through its website has been selling and promoting this condominium project.

In 26/1/2010 the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) express their alarm at proposed plans to convert part of Batu Caves for a high-density housing development.

This incident also highlights the level of unaccountability and non transparencies in local councils. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim menteri besar of Selangor was telling that local councils need to be reformed. 50 years of BN rule has made local councils a lord unto themselves without any accountability and transparency. To undo this insulation from public consultation is not easy. UMNO has lost the moral authority and leadership to reform them. There must be change of government to initiate reforms and accountability of local councils to rate payers.     

 Through the effort of MNS, this matter has come to the open. Temple committee should work with MNS and save Batu caves and not play politics using BN against PR. The beauty of Batu Caves is its caves and hill structure. This project was approved in 2007 without any environmental impact study. The caves house many varieties of flora and fauna which are unique and inimitable. Therefore a relook and reevaluation of this project is a must. 

In 1930, the Batu Caves Hill was reserved as a site for public recreation (Federated Malay States Government Gazette Notification (G.N.) No. 4712-30, part-revoked by G.N. 652-54; and the Selangor State Government Gazette G.N. 312-59), while in 1980 the state government agreed to stop quarrying at Batu Caves and protect the remaining hills and caves.

Mahamariaman temple committee should make use of this public outcry and sentiment to save the temple, caves and limestone hill structures. Every crisis will provide an opportunity. Temple must make use of the current uproar and safeguard the hills and temple. Never follow MIC leaders for they are incapable of anything.

MahaMariaman temple Batu Caves needs progressive leadership

October 24, 2012

Tamil newspapers carried headline news that MIC president Datuk G Palanivel and Sri Maha Mariaman temple chairman Datuk Nadarajah were very upset that the Selangor government gave permit to built 29 storey condominium. They want to hold protest on Friday 26/10/2012 against this decision. Datuk Nadarajah was quoted saying that the construction would pose danger to the structures in Batu Caves, including the 42.7m statue of Lord Murugan. Indian Malaysians were taken aback at this claim by the long standing temple chairman. Selangor government was also surprised at this revelation.

It was reported that this condominium project was approved on Sept 27, 2007 by the then BN Majlis Perbandaraan Selayang (MPS).  The BN Indian councilors at the time of approval was the present Hulu Selangor MP Kamalanathan (MIC), past assemblyman of Batu Caves Rajagopal (MIC), present deputy minister of foreign affairs Kogilan pillay (gerakan) and NT Rajah (MIC). These BN councilors must have approved condominium project in the full board meeting. Why didn’t they object to this condominium project? Why didn’t they alert the public, MIC and Mahamariaman temple committee about this project?

Normally a project of this size must get the approval of various stakeholders like the temple committee, environmental groups, traffic impact study and the neighboring residential committees and the various government departments that are involved in providing services to this project. Did Datuk Nadarajah gave his approval? It is revealed that MPS had done three separate tests on the land of the proposed condominiums. However, MPS admitted that they did not conduct any tests on the temple caves or statues. How is that these four councilors gave their approval (sokong) to the full board without a study on caves structure impact study? Why didn’t the four councilors demand proper investigation before giving a go ahead to this project? 

This episode shows that BN councilors are yes men to UMNO and always go along with UMNO/BN wimps and fancies. Instead of inquiring the root cause MIC and Mahamariaman temple straight away jumped at the present PR government. Once a project is approved by full board of MPS, the new councilors cannot reject without any new evidence. If new councilors reject, the developer can sue for compensation. The new councilors have to find new evidence that will cause negative impact to the surrounding before rejecting.

Datuk Nadarajah wants to go ahead and protest against the Selangor state government. The same Datuk Nadarajah closed the gate when Indians all over the country gathered on 24th November 2007. He allowed special branch to arrest the people gathered on that day. Under his leadership mahamariaman temple did nothing to the community. Everyone knows he apply polishes Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He is an UMNO crony sitting on well funded temple treasury for umpteen years. Samy Velu is his god father. They scratch each other’s back to stay in power to enjoy the bounty.

These are all possible as long as UMNO/BN in power. If PR takes over Putrajaya, all these abuses of power and money will stop. MIC and their cronies will have to vacate their office. Sri Mahamariaman temple is the treasure of hindu Malaysians and not a selected group of cronies who are embedded to their position in the temple committee. Hope some good concerned individual can take over the Mahamariaman temple management committee. It’s long overdue. Make the change in the next GE. Peoples’ verdict is god’s verdict.