Kuala Lumpur, May. 4 (ANI): The Malaysian Indian Congress has petitioned the government to set-up a Malaysian Hindu Religious Department to deal with temple and conversions issues.
"After setting up such a department, there will be a government body to handle these matters and look into the implementation of government policies and decisions," the New Strait Times online quoted MIC's Youth wing adviser S. Vell Paari, as saying.
Currently, there are only non-governmental organisations like Malaysia Hindu Sangam and Malaysia Hindu Youth Council handling such issues.
The MIC said the implementation of government policies and decisions has always been a problem. Recently, rules were tightened for hiring priests from India, and the move was reverted after much protest.
"Even then, we still face problems whenever we bring in priests. It will be much easier when a government agency works with another government agency," Vell Paari said.
The party claims that establishment of such rules and guidelines could be drawn up to deal with matters of temple demolitions.
There are an estimated 23,000 legal and illegal temples in the country.
On the issue of conversions, he said with the existence of the department, a Hindu who wanted to convert could be made to notify it for the families concerned to be informed.
"This can avoid such allegations as body snatching," he said, adding that the department should be placed under the Prime Minister's Department.
The department could also look into social ills like crimes, gangsterism and alcohol abuse, and organise religious classes, Vell Paari said.
The proposal would be discussed by the party's central working committee before being submitted to party secretary-general Dr S. Subramaniam to raise before the cabinet. (ANI)