Who were the 50 Malay men who invaded Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple and put parangs on the head of the Hindu priest and other devotees? Were they hired to do so? And if so, who paid them?
Those are among the heated questions the members of the public are dying to know in the USJ25 temple relocation fiasco. Rumours circulating online are calling the saga a clash of “race and religion” but both the government and the police denied such claims.
To keep you up to date, here are the 8 latest things you need to know about the saga.
1. They were hired by One City’s Lawyers
According to reports by Malaysiakini and The Star hours ago (Nov 28), Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the police have determined that the armed thugs that invaded the temple on Monday morning were arranged by One City’s lawyers.
“Those linked to the developer have not followed legal processes to take over the temple land as planned, in accordance with the law.
“Police investigations found that the lawyers of the developer had hired a group of Malay men to barge into the temple and take control of it before developers and police can arrive (to facilitate the land transfer) on the morning of Nov 26.
“Based on investigations, RM150,000 was handed to the group leader to carry out the intrusion and take over of the temple.
“Around 50 people were hired to do this work, and each received a payment of between RM150 and RM300,” said the Home Minister in Putrajaya today.
Muhyiddin explained the lawyers hired Malays to ‘take care of things’ at a Hindu temple which triggered such a massive response in the community.
“As an example, imagine what would happen if you send Hindus to take care of a mosque?” Muhyiddin asked rhetorically.
2. Two of the lawyers have been arrested
Muhyiddin continued that two of the lawyers representing One City have been arrested among the 21 others in relation to the temple scuffle.
3. One City previously refuted that they incited the riot
FeedMe Malaysia previously covered that One City denied any involvement in galvanising the riot, adding that the move would defeat the purpose of going through a lengthy legal process.
“Allegations that One City orchestrated the incident are malicious lies. One City condemns any acts of violence or any insinuations that would resort to such despicable acts,” wrote the company in a statement.
“Most importantly, One City is committed to adhering to the rule of law in addressing the temple which is sitting on its land.”
4. The bad blood among the temple management
One City runs a hotel and a mall near to the temple. They are the landowner of where the temple sits on. The developer donated RM1.5 million to the temple and offered a new piece of land in USJ23 to build the new temple.
A consent judgment by the High Court involving One City, the Selangor state government and two claimants to the temple management, K Chellappa and M Nagaraju, was filed in 2014. But the relocation conundrum persisted as far back as 2007.
Meanwhile, Chellappa and Nagaraju were also in a separate lawsuit that fought for the temple leadership. Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple was said to be over 146 years old.
The court ruled that the temple was slated to be relocated on November 22 but it was delayed after devotees guarded the place twenty-four-seven.
The devotees marched to the Parliament a day before the slated relocation (Nov 21) and demanded Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir to respond to the issue.