KUCHING, Sept 3: A local non-governmental body here is pleading with the chairman of Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) and the Minister of Local Government and Housing to reconsider the rejection of an application to legalise a small temple structure (‘pondok sembahyang’) that was built by an association.
In a statement, the Society for Tolerance and Awareness (SOFTAA) secretary-general Mark Murau Sumon expressed disappointment over MPP’s decision to reject the said application made by Persatuan Seni Mempertahankan Diri Sahkong Kuching to legalise a small temple structure at 3rd Mile, Sg Maong.
In a letter dated Aug 30, 2019, the council had directed the applicant to dismantle and remove the structure and all materials with immediate effect. Failure to do so would mean the council could remove them without further notice.
“The rejection letter from the council is another setback as the municipal council said that it was built without their planning approval.
“Our brainstorming meeting and formal discussion with MPP Architect and Enforcement Section Head last Thursday was futile,” he said, lamenting that the local community would lose their place of worship.
He noted that Article 11 of the Federal Constitution enshrined freedom of religion.
“It (demolition of the structure) is a public interest matter as it touches on the sensitivity of the religion and community.” he added, urging the authorities not to demolish the temple structure.
“We hope MPP can help them by giving them a grace period of probably 10 years for a win-win solution.” — DayakDaily