With all the uproar on Hindraf & temple demolition, I thought i should recall one of my letter to editor way back in 2001 which was first published on 1st June, 2001 in the The Star Daily and was also published in Malaysiakini, New Straits Times and The Sun Daily.
I urge my non-hindu friends to read this as they would be able to comprehend the complexity and multitude of problems facing the Hindus.
Nah, I would rather say complexity and multitude of problems created by the so called followers and believers.
Keeping tabs on HinduismFrom K. Balan, Batu Caves (via e-mail)
ISLAM is the official religion of Malaysia. However, Malaysians are free to practise other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity as guaranteed in the Constitution.
As a Hindu, I am grateful to be in a country where my religious belief is recognised and respected by various races.
In fact, people of other races also join in some of the religious celebrations such as Thaipusam.
While Islam is being monitored and regulated by the Jabatan Agama Islam, I regret there is no such institution that monitors Hinduism, its temples, priests and their practices.
There are thousands of Hindu temples built in the country where the Hindu population is about 1.8 million.
A large number of these temples have been built illegally over the years without much interference from the authorities because they are in secluded areas.
I remember the MIC did urge all the temples to register with them to enable these temples to be legalised and quite a number did not do so.
Looking at the number of temples and places they are built, it seems that it is not compulsory to register or obtain approval with any religious body before a temple is built.
It is only when the authorities take action that the temple committee will create an uproar and find ways to legalise their temple.
If I am not mistaken, there are at least eight temples in the small town of Labis, Johor.
In Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, there are two huge temples built near each other while in Jalan Ipoh there are at least three.
There are also temples like the ones in Brickfields and Bangsar whose unwritten rules state that they are to be patronised only by certain races.
Are they necessary for a very small Hindu population in our country?
Every year, committee members of these temples go around visiting Indian houses looking for donations.
Why build temples when there are no funds to maintain them?
The majority of these temples are headed by local politicians with prayers and rituals conducted by Malaysian priests trained in India or priests of Indian nationality.
These priests are trained by different gurus or schools of thought in India and practices which had been taught by their gurus and the legitimacy of their rituals and practices are in question.
From my experience, I find that almost all temple priests conduct the evening prayer sessions in different ways and the devotees usually have no clue whether it is proper and legitimate.
The same applies to ceremonies for weddings, funerals and house warming. There seems to be no standard procedure on how a prayers session or a ceremony is to be conducted.
Who is monitoring the conduct of the priests, temples and those unscrupulous companies who use the name of God to sell their products?
How do the followers find out who is saying and doing the right thing? Where do the public go to if there are any grouses related to conduct of some temples and their practices?
There may be articles and guidelines in the Tamil newspapers and magazines but usually they are confusing.
What about those who can't read Tamil?
RESPONSE FROM HINDU SANGAM
Hindu Sangam doing the needfulFrom A. Vaithilingam, President, Malaysia Hindu Sangam. (via e-mail, The Star )
I REFER to the letter, "Keeping tabs on Hinduism" (The Star, June 1).
It is not surprising your publication, which has previously only provided sparse coverage on matters relating to Hinduism, has now found cause to provide such prominence to K. Balan's letter with what appears to be an intention to belittle the religion.
One wonders what treatment this letter will get from you.
Balan's ignorance of many of the issues concerning the administration and coordination of Hinduism and its practice in Malaysia is probably a direct result of his complaint in the last two paragraphs of his letter, that only the Tamil dailies and magazines provide extensive coverage on matters relating to Hinduism.
It is a fact that while generally all Malaysian media organisations obviously mainly focus on Islam, being the official religion of the country, the English language publications more often than not tend to publish extensive news mostly on Christianity.
Coverage on other religions tend to border on the negative.
It is unfair for Balan to compare the powers of the authorities governing Islam to that of Hinduism.
No religion in this country other than Islam has established official frameworks regulated by statutory provisions within which the workings of the religion can be administered.
As for the monitoring of Hindu temples, priests and all forms of ceremonies, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, as the recognised national coordinating body for Hindus in Malaysia, is striving to do the needful.
Further, the Sangam has taken steps to form a National Advisory Board for Hindus consisting of top spiritual leaders and other experts in the various sects of Hinduism to advise the Sangam.
A guide book on funerals has been prepared and a book on wedding ceremonies is now in progress. There is, however, no law making it compulsory for a place of worship to be registered as such.
In recent years, the MIC, being the leading political party representing the Indian community most of whom are Hindus has, with the help of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, undertaken a survey (and not a registration) of Hindu temples in the country.
Balan has taken note only of the Hindu temples in Labis, Sentul, Brickfields and Bangsar.
He should take a walk in those areas and note the number of prominent traditional churches and the many small churches operating in shop-houses which far exceed the number of Hindu temples.
It is neither unnatural nor uncommon for places of worship of any religion to follow a particular sect or race.
Why just pick on Hindu temples only? Hindu temples in Malaysia are open to all Hindus for worship.
As a Hindu, Balan only seems to be aware of the numerous collections of funds by temples.
In Malaysia, the Government looks after the mosques, Islamic centres and the teachings of Islam.
All other non-Muslim institutions have to raise their own funds entirely and are largely dependent on their respective devotees.
It is true temples are facing an acute shortage of trained priests.
Parents prefer their sons to become professionals earning more than RM1,500 after graduation whilst a fully trained priest after three to six years of training will start off with only about RM500.
The Malaysia Hindu Sangam together with the Malaysian Achargars (Priests) Association and the Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram is looking into the possibility of training local priests to meet the shortage.
The Malaysia Hindu Sangam is now conducting nation-wide one-day seminars at district and state levels for leaders of Hindu temples to guide them on the proper management of their temples and the conducting of rituals.
These leaders will also be trained to place more importance on their temples becoming community service centres in their respective areas.
Balan and others who wish to know more about Hinduism and the activities of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam can contact us at: 40414669 or fax: 40447304, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MY REPLY TO HINDU SANGAM
Dear Mr Vaitilingam,
I refer to my article in the Star (01 June 2001) and your reply to The Star (14 June 2001).
Thank You for the long reply.
The fact is that my letter was edited at lenght and not fully published. This is perhaps why you have answered in a very defensive mode.
Below is the full text of my letter.
Monitor Hindu Temples, Priests And Their Practices
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. However the Malaysians are free to practice other religion such as Hinduism, Buddha, Christian and others as guaranteed in the constitution.
As a Hindu, I am grateful to be in a country where my religious belief is recognised and respected by various races. In fact people of other races also joins in some of the religious celebrations such as the Thaipusam, which has also become one of the main tourist attractions of the country.
While religions such as Islam is monitored and regulated by agencies such as the Jabatan Agama Islam under the federal and state governments, I regret that there is no such institution that monitors the Hindu religion, temples, Hindu priests and their practices.
There are thousands of Hindu temples built in the country where the population of Hindus reach about 1.8 million. A large number of these temples are built illegally over the years without much interference from the authorities due to temples built at secluded areas. I remember the MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) did sometime ago urged all the temples to register with them to enable these temples to be legalised and quite a number did not do so.
In Malaysia, it is a believe that anyone can built anything and that includes temples, anywhere as long as the land area does not belong to others. Some Hindus even have their own personal temples near their homes and conduct their own prayers.
Looking at the number of temples in the country and places they are built, I don't think that it has been made compulsory to register or obtain approval with any religious bodies before a temple can be built. It is only when authorities takes action do the temple committee creates an uproar and find ways to protect and legalise their temple. So much freedom for freedom of religion in this country.
For example, if I am not mistaken, there are at least 8 temples in the small town of Labis, Johor. In Sentul, there is two huge temples built near to each other while at Jalan Ipoh there is at least three temples. That's not about it, there are also some temples like the ones in Brickfields and Bangsar whose unwritten rules states that the temple is to be patronised only by certain races.
Are these temples necessary for a very small Hindu population in our country. The same applies to other towns and cities where majority of these temples are hardly patronised except for on Fridays and days when they have their annual celebration.
Every year committee members of these temples goes around visiting Indian houses looking for donations. Why is it necessary to built temples when there are no funds to maintain it.
I usually receive no less than a dozen visits every year from committee members of various temples in Kuala Lumpur looking for donations. I usually refuse to contribute if they do not posses necessary permits to solicit donations, which many of them don't.
Majority of these temples are headed by local politicians with prayers and rituals helmed by Malaysian priest trained in India or priest of Indian nationality. These priests are trained by different gurus or school of thought in India and practices what been taught by their gurus. This is where the legitimacy of their rituals and practices are in question.
From my experience of attending prayers in many different temples, I find almost all of the temple priests conduct the evening prayers sessions in different ways and the devotees usually have no clue whether what is being conducted is proper and legitimate.
The same applies to other ceremonies such as for weddings, funerals, house warming and others. There seems to be no standard procedure on how a prayers session or a ceremony is to be conducted.
One example is the wedding ceremony. I have attended a wedding ceremony helmed by one of the most popular priest in the country. On that occasion, before the wedding couple ties the knot, the priest asked both the bride and groom to profess verbally their agreement to live together as husband and wife, similar to the way conducted in a Christian wedding.
I have not seen such procedure being practised by any other priest. Whether this is the correct procedure is anyone's guess. I asked few people who were present at the wedding and no one could give me an explanation.
So far I have not seen any consistencies in the way these ceremonies are conducted by the priests of different temples. And nobody seems to know which priest is doing the right way. Probably I lack religious education, but I can't accept the fact that there are many ways that a religious ceremony or rituals can be conducted. When this happens in almost all the temples that I have been, I have lost confidence in these priest whom I believe are not monitored and their practices are definitely not regulated.
Some of them have clearly deviated from the normal teachings that public knows and understands. Some of the priest claims they can chase the ghosts away and performs strange rituals where goats and chickens are sacrificed. There are also many other strange rituals conducted occasionally but nowadays it is confined to rural areas and estates.
The conduct of some of the priest are also questionable. I have also seen a priest who drinks and dances in a wedding procession in Rawang, a priest that goes to Casino, a priest who wears kilos of jewellery in Kluang, Johor and another priest who says men whose ears are not pierced are not a Hindu. I don't have my ears pierced and immediately I was declared a non-Hindu.
I also have experience where I was given different dates for a wedding ceremony by priest of different temples. Both priests told me that the date given by them are the most auspicious ones.
Only later that I found out that the dates given are those most convenient to the priest to be booked for the wedding ceremony and not really the most auspicious date as claimed. Basically I was conned by two priest from two reputable temples. I believe these priest have conned many people over the years for monetary gains.
There are also some popular priests who goes on air in local radio station to endorse religious products by local companies.
On the other hand, there are also some companies who claims that their products are clean and pure to be used by religious purposes. They use RTM Radio Six to promote their product and uses various religious verses, sayings and quotes with their own interpretation to substantiate their claims.
Who is monitoring the conduct of the priests, temples and those unscrupulous companies who uses the name of god to sell their product. How do the public clarify and find out who is saying and doing the right thing? Where do the public go to if there are any grouses related to conduct of some temples and it's practices?
There may be some writings and guideline in the Tamil newspapers and magazines but usually they are written in a way that confuses the public. What about those who can't read Tamil? Where do they go for information?
I hope the relevant authority will clarify and also start taking action before this goes out of control and more and more people get cheated and unknowingly deviate from true and legitimate Hindu teaching.
First I am obliged to give you some information on my background so that you will understand my opinions better.
I am a malay educated and only in my form five I managed to learn Tamil (on my own ) although I am not a Tamil. I came from a school where myself and two my brother was the only Indian in a school of 2,000 students in Felda Kota Tinggi, Johor. I have lived in at least 8 estates in my younger days as my father was a estate conductor who was always transfered every two years.
1. Belittling Religion ?
First, I would like to express my regret that you have accused me of attempting to belittle the religion. I have no such intention. I also regret that this accusation came from a President Of an organisation which represents (if it is true) a religion which is supposed to forgive, create awareness, clarify, be kind and polite enough make people understand clearly matters related to religion. As a Hindu I take it as an insult.
2. Being Ignorant
You also claimed that I am ignorant. Of course, not because I choose to ignore, it is because the activities and efforts by related organisation (if it is true that they are active as claimed in your response) were hardly publicised. Am I to blame if I never come across in any media (Radio, TV, Newspapers & Magazines) any reports, press releases, calendar of activities.
For your information, I read The New Straits Times, The Sun Daily, The Star and Malay Mail everyday without fail. I also buy Nanban (Sundays Only) , Makkal Osai, Vanampadi & Nayanam everyweek. Sure there are some articles but people like me with limited vocabulary in Tamil have a hard time trying to understand any article. What about those who can't read Tamil at all.
Do not blame the English dailies. There are many other ways to get heard.
3.Authority & Regulation.
I am glad that finally some form of regulation related to ceremonies are finally being undertaken, but what about enforcement. Who will oversee the conduct of temples & priest ? Do you think they will follow the guideline on certain ceremonies if they are not monitored, I don't think so.
My articles never mentioned churches, why drag churches into this? We are not even able to control the temples, why compare with other religion?
5.Too Many Temples
I think what I have mentioned do make sense. Just go to any temples around the country on any days except Friday and the days, special celebrations are held, there are hardly anyone. Is there a need for two different temple sitting next to each other, some in the same estate, same town and I also have seen neighbours having temples of their own.
6.Hindu Temples Open To All Hindus.
You have contradicted yourself by saying ' It is neither unnatural not uncommon for places of worship of any religion to follow a particular sect or race' and yet later in your letter you said Hindu temples open to all Hindus.
It it easy to declare that all hindu temples are open to all hindus, fine I agree. But the fact is people of different sect or race are made unwelcome at certain temples. We usually get a stare from the priest and others , sometimes our archanai request are denied and there was once where my request to put a villaku at a particular temple was not allowed.
This practice also contributes to people divided along their own ethnic groups.
Again here you questioned 'why pick on Hindu Temples only'. Of course I am talk about Hindu Temples because I am a Hindu. Why compare with other religion.
I expected your response to be proactive, of what is Hindu Sangam doing to minimise or even eliminate the above problem, so that the Hindus in the country are united and not reactive and defensive by again comparing with other religion.
I believe God never asked it's devotees to build temples all over the place. We should only build when we are sure that it will be manageable and that there are enough people to patronise it.
For example, there is a temple in Kluang, next to the Indian Association Hall along Jalan Renggam left idle for almost three due to insufficient funds and problems between committee members. The temple was in the process of renovation and reburbishment.
Do you think that the god has asked for all these to happen. It is the human, the people that control the temples that create all unnecessary problems.
Some people build temples to boost their ego, popularity and even to compete with leaders of other temples.
These are not mere accusations, I have lived in estates ( 8 estates with 14 temples) where numerous problems crop up every year during the temple committee selection/voting. Once some group lose their position, they refuses to contribute towards the temple funds and start doing all kinds of things to sabotage the temple. So the god becomes secondary.
Again, here you went on comparing other religion.
8. Local Priest & Priests From India
I never questioned on shortage of local priests or the intake of priest from India. I only questioned the legitimacy of their way of conducting ceremonies.
9. Companies & Advertisements
You never touched on this.
Have you ever heard of various companies advertising religious products over Radio Six RTM. Quite a number of them claim that their products are clean and pure and are the most suitable for prayers etc.
Had Hindu Sangam done anything to clarify and check on these products. What about this Agni Hotram, is it legitimate, approved and allowed. I read in the Makkal Osai where an Indian priest claimed that this ritual is illegal. Have you checked. The Aboorvas had been selling the Agni Hotram package in thousands and laughing all the way to the bank.
10. Kalvi Yathirai
What about Kalvi Yathirai, do you think it is necessary to group about one million students and conduct prayers to enable the students to do well in their exams. Many of my relatives and family members (students) who went for this occasion confessed that they went there just to have fun with their friends. Some of them said they do feel motivated after all the courses but the so-called motivation dies down after a week or two.
Do you think that the god will help the students to pass the exams. Nobody will do well in exams unless they study hard. God will not help those who don't help themselves.
My sympathies to parents who spent hundreds to sent their children to this event.
End of the day, the people at the Aboorvas, the main sponsors for the event, are the ones who benefitted most. They have managed to advertise themselves in a most convincing way (by using religion) to millions of Indians in such a brief period. What a good business strategy.
If there is really a need for special prayers for students who are taking exams, why don't we do it in a smaller scale, in towns, estates and villages. Then the smaller number of students will be more focused, the parents do not have to fork out a lot of money and people like Aboorvas will not be able to take advantage of the situation.
The Sri Murugan Centre, I believe is already doing a good job in giving tuitions to students. This is enough and they can do more by having more classes. This will be good enough.
I do remember you replying to my articles relating to the condition of Batu Caves. This place has been described as a Third World Mayhem by one of the tourist who stayed at the hotel where I worked before. It was very very embarassing. He asked me whether is this the way the Hindus pray.
In brief, the noise, the filthy stalls, crammed atmosphere, unnecessary entertaintment, has brought about a negative image to Indians in the country.
There are hardly any space to walk during thaipusam due to the stalls lining up all over the place. They were also stalls selling local Indian rock bands albums pleaced just next to the temple on the second day at the ground level blarring their music to the maximum. How do you expect people at the temple at the ground level pray.
To do an archanai people are forced to buy the archanai package at an exorbitant fee. Is this the way to collect funds, by forcing people to buy from the temple.
The fact is Thaipusam has become a money making occasion for many including the Batu caves temple commitee who rents out maximum number of stalls that can fit the area and that includes a Funfair where people gamble to win prizes, how religious.
I don't have to say more about the allotment of the stalls which are manipulated by the temple committee member and later sold to other people at high daily rates. This is an open secret and has been going on for years. The temple committee ( still headed by a man previously convicted of misaapropriation of funds but recently aquitted on technicality) denied this in their reply.
The conduct of the some followers of the Kavadi bearer are despicable. It is so embarrasing. They behaves like street rowdies. Half of them are. I also have seen some gangsters taking kavadhi year after year and later remains their old self, no improvements whatsoever. What is the point of taking kavadis then.
Why can't Hindu Sangam do something about this?
12. Valluvar Kottai & Kallai Kudham
Have you been to these places, the conditions are a digrace to Hindus. Aren't Hindu Sangam bothered about this?
13. Custom, Tradition & Religion
I believe majority of Hindus can't differenciate what is a religious practice and what is a Indian custom/tradition. A very good example is the Ponggal festival. It is now touted to be a religious festival when the fact is it a thanksgiving tradition practiced by paddy farmers back in India.
There are many other ceremonies like ear piercing, shaving hair of children, babies 16th day and 30th day ceremony which are more of a custom than a religious practice. But majority Hindus believe that these are a must for all Hindus.
The fact that a Hindu priest ( a very popular priest) told me that one is not Hindu if their ears are not pierced is shocking. Is this true, if it is then, more than half of the Hindu men in the country including me are not Hindus.
14. Keep Up The Work
On the other hand, I appreciate the effort done to hold seminars for leaders of Hindu temples. This must go on and there must be effort to reach general public so that they are aware what is going on, what are the right practices, what should be done and what should not take place.
I rest my case and just to summarise, I believe things will be out of control if nothing is done now. For me, I believe one do not have to go to temple to pray, we can pray anywhere . I will continue to pray at home and only visit temple when it is bearable and necessary.
Your reply will be much appreciated.
K.Balan Kuala Lumpur
HINDU SANGAM's Second Reply
Thank you for the response to my letter published in the Star (14 Jun 2001)
I feel relived receiving your e-mail on 15 June. Relived because I appreciate your genuine concern for the state of affairs of the many things related to Hinduism in Malaysia and the temples in particular.
I would be most happy if you can call at my office @ No.8, Jalan Duku, Off Jalan kasipillay, 51200 Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible. Please ring the office or my hand phone 012-2970765 before you come.
My colleagues and I share many of your views, especially your concern. Please do come.
May the Almighty God Bless you.
OTHER READERS RESPONSE 1
It's time to monitor all templesVIKNASVARAN of Kuala Lumpur (via e-mail, The Star) writes:
I REFER to the letter "Keeping Tabs on Hinduism" (The Star, June 1). I fully support Balan's idea and I really appreciate that he brought up this issue, which should have been addressed long ago.
The Hindu Sangam is doing all they can for the Indians and I think they have done a good job all this while.
I think now is the time for the Hindu Sangam, MIC and relevant organisations to work together to monitor all the temples, priests and their practices for the benefit of Indians in Malaysia.
OTHER READERS RESPONSE 2
Hinduism too diverse to monitorFrom Saravanan Karumanan, Kota Kinabalu. (via e-mail, The Star Daily)
I WOULD like to respond to K. Balan's letter, "Keeping tabs on Hinduism (The Star, June 1).
Is there a need to have a monitoring body to keep tabs on Hinduism similar to what is being done in other religions?
The answer to this question will result in another question. Can the Hindu religion be monitored?
K. Balan seems to forget that Hinduism is a religion devoid of accepted doctrines and dogmas.
It is a religion that has evolved over thousands of years and in the process it has found a place for varied practices and belief systems which collectively is called Hinduism.
Throughout the ages, many attempts have been made to reduce it to a single belief system or norm, but all these efforts have failed or met a natural death.
The Hindu religion is simply too big and diverse to be broken down into easy manageable parts.
Hence, K. Balan's confusion about which is the correct path is a dilemma that every Hindu goes through in his quest to understand the religion.
The solution to this dilemma is a matter of the heart.
As for the many unregistered Hindu temples, I agree with K. Balan that they should be registered if found to be operating illegally.
I also agree with K. Balan that something should be done to temples that seem to have unspoken rules on who should patronise them.
K. Balan also asked whether there is a need for so many Hindu temples when the Indian population is small.
Let me remind K. Balan that for a Hindu, a special bond exists between him and a temple.
For many, they actually feel a sense of restlessness if they are unable to go to their favourite temple.
Each temple is like a tiny spot for every Hindu to find his place in the universe.
Every Hindu feels that a temple is specially built for him to communicate with God.
Hindus donate to temples because like I said before, there exists a special bond between the two.
Hindus and Hindu temples have never been a problem for the Malaysian society.
In fact the many temples around the country have played an important role in keeping Indian youths away from the streets.
Temple worship in Hinduism is a very important and sacred duty.
Each time a Hindu walks into a temple, however humble, he is walking into the kingdom of God.
If one looks beyond the rituals and doctrines, one will feel the actual meaning of Love of Godhead.
OTHER READERS RESPONSE 3
Dear Mr. Balan,
And does that mean that one day to come, Hindus will not be allowed to use Gods name even to name their children. I will agree to this. Ya, first the name Samy (God) Vellu should not be in any media. Why not, because he is not behaving like a God. He is a disgrace(he drinks, he has keeps/pets, he is rich and he has mercedes-Gods dont have that), hence we should not allow anyone to use Gods name. Is this how we want things to happen in future.
The pathetic thing about Indian reformist in Malaysia is that they seldom look ahead - just like that old bunch of MIC fellows. In a country where the minority is not safe guarded by the constitution and being treated biasly by the existing leadership, it is only right for us to fight to preserve whatever little freedom and liberty we have and not to keep losing it. This is what I am totaly for.
Hindusim caters for all walks of man. The idiot to the intellect. So when we have became knowledgeable, it does not mean that we have to for get about the naive ones. Be it right or wrong it is up to the indiividual to determine. Bogus or not it is the individual right of every Hindus. You yourself Mr.Balan, dont know wether it is right or wrong but you say it is bogus. How am I to give you a break when you are trying to impose (not propose by leadership quality) on the Hindus. This is crucial. Our mind set has to change as we got to look from a wider scope. Dont only think about our self. Put your self in another persons shoe - those who are of lower ability to absorb the abstract elements of spirituality.
HIndu bussiness are directly connected with God and Godliness. Look at the Chettiars. Take them as an example in bussiness and the Malaysian Hnidu community can be a better lot. Their bussiness are named either to their own name or the name of God, usualy Lord Muruga. You go to their shop and there is Gods icon/picture etc. You open their safe box and you will again see some elements related to spirituality. Now this small community of Chetty has been doing very well in Malaysia since the time of Malacca Sultanate.
Dont turn Hniduism into a Semetic, dogmatic religion in Malaysia.
RECAP : If readers notice, all the issues relating to Hinduism and Hindu Temples was brought up in 2001 itself. Not sure where HINDRAF, DAP, PKR members who made all the noise recently, were at that time.
Again, it readers care to notice, almost all initial responses (including mine) were emotional in nature. I now do not really agree with some of the comments I made as I have lost touch with the practises as it has continued to evolve.
8 years has passed and nothing much has changed, the same people are there in Batu Caves, more and more temples are being built (recent report says that there are 7,000 temples in Selangor).
The saddest part is when authorities take action according to the law, politicians stand in the way, previously the BN and now Pakatan Rakyat has done exactly the same by taking action against someone who did what is required by the law.
This (political interference) would certainly encourage people to build more illegal temples and perhaps surpass India in terms of number of Hindu Temples available, no matter if they are illegal.
I have no hope that things will change, ever especially when people become emotional at every turn and can't think rationally, something that I do not think will change in my lifetime.