Singapore, Jul 17 (UNI) Malaysian government will consider new applications for engaging priests, musicians and artisans from India in the temples and gurdwaras of the country from next month, Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam said today.
Dr Subramaniam, who is also the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) Secretary General, said the visas and permits for these people would be valid for a maximum period of three years.
It would be based on a set of strict guidelines set by the government after it was discovered last year that some of the temple and gurdwara employees had been on long-term visas.
''The decision was made after I had a meeting with Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar on the issue concerning the approval and renewal of visas and permits for priests, musicians and artisans from India for temples and Sikh gurdwaras,'' he told reporters in the central peninsular city of Petaling Jaya.
According to Dr Subramaniam, about 150 temples and gurdwaras in Malaysia would be involved in the exercise in the first stage.
The government would study the needs of other temples and gurdwaras from time to time, he added.
Commenting on the need to increase the number of local priests, he said more and more Malaysians would be trained to reduce the dependency of temples and gurdwaras on foreign workers.
UNI XC ARB RAI1904