By Md Izwan
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu spearheaded today a demonstration at the Batu Caves Hindu temple, objecting to the construction of a 29-storey condominium project, in what is seen as a bid to pressure the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration ahead of the 13th general election.
The former works minister accused the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) of having approved the construction project without a proper study. He said legal action could be taken against the council.
“This construction is not detailed and was not studied holistically by referring to the proper authorities,” Samy Vellu told a 300-strong crowd of Hindus and non-governmental activists who had turned up at the famous Lord Murugan temple this morning to protest the condominium construction.
“MPS itself did not meet the temple committee to discuss or inform about the project,” he added.
The Sri Maha Mariamman Devasathanam temple committee chairman, Datuk R. Nadarajah, who was among the frontliners in today’s “Save Batu Caves” rally, had criticised the state government for failing in its duty to act responsibly and passing the buck over the approval of the condominium project to MPS.
The last rally organised to protect the temple complex from potential destruction due to development was in the 1970s and 1980s, when residents near Batu Caves had raged against two private companies, Dolomite Industries and Kenneison Brothers, who had used dynamite to quarry for marble and allegedly weakened the limestone hill’s structure.
The then Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) government had issued a stop-work order to the two companies in 1980 and relocated them to Sungai Long, in Cheras.
The current condominium project is by Dolomite, and is to be built on one of the former quarry sites which is about 120m from the statue of Lord Murugan at the foot of the hill.
MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel was reported to have endorsed the rally, and urged Indians nationwide to join in the protest.
“The public and NGOs irrespective of political affiliation should show continuous displeasure over the project,” he was reported by The Star newspaper as saying yesterday.