The proposed RM5 million allocation for the construction of a Hindu temple in Putrajaya is well within the "scope and terms of reference" of the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA), minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy has clarified.

This after questions were raised on why MITRA, which was tasked by the government to disburse funds for the socio-economic development of the Indian community, is funding a temple's construction.

In a statement, Waythamoorthy, whose ministry oversees MITRA, pointed out the "historical significance" of the Dewi Sri Lalithaambigai temple, which is embroiled in the controversy.

According to him, the temple, which is to be built on land provided by the then-government 14 years ago, will replace the 12 estate temples demolished during the development of Putrajaya then.

"Historically, Putrajaya consisted of four major estates, namely Prang Besar, Sedgeley Estate, Galloway estate, and Madingley Estate, covering over 8,000 acres and home to over 400 Indian families working in the ribber estates.

"[After the demolition] with limited funds, the temple committee has been unable to commence the construction and completion of the temple," he was quoted saying in a statement, by Malaysiakini.

When constructed, the temple will have design that is "the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia" and serve as the sole point of worship for Indians residing in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, he added.

Its committee is reportedly being managed by senior civil servants, including MACC officers.

Discussions are also under way with other govermment agencies to monitor the temple's construction, to ensure the allocated funds are in accordance with procedures for government-funded projects, he noted.

Party Negara vice-president S Gobi Krishnan had recently questioned why MITRA was allocating RM5 million for the construction of the temple, as it had nothing to do with empowering the Indian community.

He further claimed that MITRA has promised to give the same temple another RM5 million next year, bringing the total allocation to RM10 million.

Source: Malaysiakini
Photo source: Astro Awani, Bernama