Saturday, March 22, 2008


malaysiakini/Mar 20, 08

Demolished temples rebuilt, culprits disciplined. Plantation giant Sime Darby has revealed that it had investigated and disciplined individuals who were responsible for demolishing two small Hindu temples and a shrine in Bradwall Estate in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan.The temples and shrine were demolished on March 5 at Lin Sum estate, a division of Bradwall estate, causing anger among hundreds of Hindu workers in the estate.News of the demolitions also prompted many to accuse the temple management of tearing down the structures without having any respect for Hindus in the estate.

Sime Darby issued a statement yesterday to clarify the matter, stating that it took immediate steps to assure estate workers that the demolished structures would be replaced and the culprits brought to action.Sime Darby however did not disclose who demolished the shrine and the two temples. It also did not reveal what action was taken against them.The plantation giant said that its executive vice president Azhar Abdul Hamid and other senior managers visited the estate on the night of the demolition and assured estate workers that all demolished structures would be rebuilt immediately.

It added that two days later, work on the small shrine next to the workers’ quarters was completed. Sime Darby also said that it worked with the estate’s temple committee and estate workers to rebuild the other two temples according to the specifications of the committee, stating that all foundation and structural works for both the temples were completed.Politically-motivatedIt added that it was now up to the temple committee to pick an auspicious day to perform the necessary religious rites before workers can worship there. “We tried to minimise disruption to the people’s religious practices by rebuilding the temples as quickly as possible.“This was an unsanctioned incident and we want to assure the workers at Bradwall Estate that we are committed to correcting what happened.

That is why reconstruction of the shrine and temples were completed so quickly,” said Azhar.In the aftermath of the demolition, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan claimed that the demolition was politically-motivated, undertaken by certain quarters who tried to incite hatred towards Barisan Nasional candidates.Mohamad, who was contesting to retain the Rantau state seat then, said he was told by those responsible that they wanted to see how well BN would handle the matter. "They also said they wanted to see how many votes (Umno Youth vice-head) Khairy Jamaluddin, the BN candidate for the Rembau parliamentary seat, would get on Saturday (as a result of the incident)," he had said. Both Mohamad and Khairy won their seats in the election.