Saturday, October 30, 2010

Support our PHBS Religious Land Application from Selangor State Government now !

Dear Putra Heights Residents,

Support Putra Heights Buddhist Society Signature Campaign on Religious Land Application from Selangor State Government now !@ Venue: 11-1 Jalan Putra Mahkota 7/8c, Pusat Bandar Putra Point, Putra Heights Seksyen 7, 47650 Subang Jaya on Sunday, 31st October, 2010 onwards:

Committee to submit applications

Eighteen Buddhist organisations have charged that the draft local plans of five councils in Selangor have failed to adhere to the planning guidelines for the allocation of land for places of worship.

They have formed an action committee called the Selangor Buddhist Development Committee to ensure that their objection to the draft plans would be heard.

The committee claimed that the Selayang, Ampang Jaya and Kajang municipal councils as well as the Kuala Langat and Hulu Selangor district councils did not comply with the Selangor Planning Guidelines and Standards published by the state’s Town and Country Planning Department in June 2006.

The guidelines state that for non-Muslims, there should be one place of worship for every 2,600 devotees or 5,000 residents.

“Based on the census report in 2000 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Malaysian citizens of the Buddhist faith comprised 4,419,042 people or 20.2% of the total population,” action committee chairman Loka Ng Sai Kai said at a press conference at the Chempaka Buddhist Lodge in Petaling Jaya on Thursday.

“In Selangor, there are a total of 1,011,169 Buddhists, which is 25.26% of the state’s 4,002,440 citizens. Based on ethnic distribution, there are 1,230,271 ethnic Chinese in Selangor, and 999,748 (81.26%) of them are Buddhists,” he added.

Flanked by representatives of the 18 Buddhist organisations, Ng said the said draft local plans proposed limited or no allocation of land for the building of Buddhist temples even though the existing ones were seriously overcrowded.

Ng said that despite the state’s clear planning guidelines, the draft local plans for Selayang and Ampang Jaya stated that the allocation was based on request (mengikut permintaan).

“We are also surprised that the draft local plan for the Hulu Selangor district council even stated that the number of places of worship for non-Muslims had to be monitored so that they did not exceed the legal number.

“We feel that it is not in line with the spirit of Article 3 (1), 11 (1) and 11 (3) of the Federal Constitution in regard to the needs of adherents of religions other than Islam to practise their religions, and to build and manage their places of worship,” he added.

Committee member Chua Teck Seong, who is also president of the Putra Heights Buddhists Society, highlighted the meagre land allocation for non-Muslim places of worship in each of the areas, and questioned the accuracy of the figures of existing places of worship given.

The Selayang Municipal Council has projected that in the year 2020, the municipality would have a population of 1,338,956, of whom 225,108 would be Buddhists who would require an estimated 87 Buddhist temples. However, there are only 13 Buddhist temples now, and only three locations have been earmarked as places of worship for non-Muslims in the draft plan.

In Ampang Jaya, where it is estimated that 62 Buddhist temples would be needed in the year 2020. there are currently only nine temples, and only three sites for places of worship have been allocated for all non-Muslims.

In Kajang, no land was allocated at all on the basis that there are already “141 units of non-Muslim places of worship”, but the committee reiterated that the figure was not substantiated. It is also projected that Buddhists in the area would need 82 temples by 2020.

Likewise, the draft plan for Hulu Selangor stated that there were already 90 places of worship for non-Muslims but the figure seems to have been plucked from the air. Only one piece of land was allocated for the purpose.

In Kuala Langat, the number of existing Buddhist temples was not specified but it is estimated that 21 temples would be needed in 2020. Only one site was marked for all non-Muslims.

The committee also urged the authorities to reserve land and provide allocations to build crematorium and columbarium complexes, especially for the Buddhist and Hindu communities who often opt for cremation.

The Buddhist organisations’ representatives also pointed out that they needed to rent commercial or residential units to house their activity centres, but were fined by the local councils for breaching the condition of use of the building.

“There are about 200 Buddhist associations registered in Selangor, and most of them are occupying shophouses,” Chua added.

Some had also applied to use vacant land near their premises for expansion, but the applications were not approved even after 10 years.

The committee is submitting objection papers to the respective councils. “We will wait for the local councils to call us for the public hearing,” Ng added.

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