Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim on Saturday shelved plans to relocate a Hindu temple after a public dialogue on the issue turned ugly.
Tan Sri Khalid abruptly ended the meeting when some people began shouting racial and religious taunts, and even made threatening gestures at others.
The dialogue at the town hall was called after some residents raised strident objections to the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government proposal to move the 150-year-old temple from Section 19 in Shah Alam to Section 23.
In the end, Mr Khalid postponed the relocation, saying the Selangor government would hold discussions with the groups affected and try to work out a solution.
The dialogue turned into a nasty shouting match before it even began. Some participants, accused of not being residents, were physically harassed by others and ordered to leave.
Mr Khalid, Shah Alam Mayor Mazalan Mohd Noor, assemblywoman Rodziah Ismail and MP Khalid Samad were booed. Many of the 200-odd residents who showed up refused to listen. Instead, they hurled profanities and insults throughout the two-hour session.
The Menteri Besar’s pleas for calm were ignored. The situation even took a turn for the worse when an Indian resident appealed for tolerance.
‘We respect our Malay neighbours. We can accept the (Muslim) call to prayers five times a day,’ said Mr R. Gunaretinam. Riled residents rushed towards him, and scuffled. That was when Mr Khalid quickly stopped the proceedings.
There will be no more discussions until the state government can come up with a solution.
The relocation is proving to be a sensitive problem for the state government. The issue first blew up when a group of Malay residents from Section 23 protested against the temple move on Aug 28, claiming that the site was too close to the homes of Muslims.– Straits Times