Singapore, Dec 6 (UNI) The Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) has been working closely with the state governments and local authorities to address the issue of more than 17,000 Hindu temples in Malaysia, MHS president A Vaithilingam said today.
The MHS had always worked pro-actively through the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) on the issue of places of worship, he told the Malaysian national news agency Bernama in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Vaithilingam, also MCCBCHST president, said the council represented 45 per cent of the population, adding that it had discussed many issues involving Indian culture with the local authorities.
He disclosed that the MHS had also worked closely with the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), a junior party in the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, in relation to land approvals for Hindu temples in the country, most of which were located in the states of Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Selangor, Kedah, Johor and Penang.
Approval for land acquisition was easier if the temple buildings were registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS), he added.
The MHS president said that the MHS has worked closely with Malaysia's Islamic party, PAS, which leads the government in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysian state of Kelantan in relation to the erection or relocation of Hindu temples in the state.
Malaysia, predominantly Muslim state with a strong representation of other religions in the population and government, was hit hard by the ethnic Hindu Indian protests two Sundays ago, where the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) alleged that its members were being marginalised with regular Hindu temples demolition.