Frankly Speaking: Setting the right precedent

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 3, 2018 - December 09, 2018.
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The Selangor government rightly decided against buying the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple land in USJ25 in order to resolve the dispute over it.

Spending millions on buying the land would set the wrong precedent with taxpayers’ money and would not stop future potential clashes at other places of worship also built on land that does not belong to them.

The government said the rule of law must prevail and that those who broke the law would be held accountable. It would also not interfere with the court’s decision but will instead implement guidelines to ensure such incidents do not occur again.

It is regrettable that such guidelines are not already in place, given that it is not the first time a place of worship faced eviction by new landowners. But there are examples where an amicable solution was found. The Sri Maha Sakthi Mohambigai Amman temple, for instance, currently co-exists with Mid Valley Megamall.

What’s worse, there is the possibility of racial tensions in such incidents, which we must not allow to be fanned.

While the cause of the trouble is still being debated, it is clear that the police have to take some of the responsibility. The injuries to Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, an officer of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Station’s Emergency Response Team and the damages to several shops located in One City Complex could have been prevented had the police dispatched sufficient manpower to control the unrest.

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