The Task Force on Hindu Places of Worship is a joint effort between the MyNadi Foundation, Malaysia Hindu Council, Malaysian Hindudharma Mamandram and the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam.
These NGOs are carrying out a national survey of Hindu temples to build up the database and come up with a guidebook on removal and relocation of temples for the use of governmental agencies.
"So far, we have about 20 to 30 temples in our database," MyNadi Foundation chairman Datuk Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said at a press conference today.
He said the database will be provided to the Federal and state governments as well as local authorities for dealing with issues pertaining to Hindu temples.
Jeyaindran said among the problems faced by Hindu temples are lack of funding, illegal land ownership, relocation and removal.
"The government does not know how to handle issues pertaining to these places of worship because there is no proper database of the temples," he said.
The data sought from these temples includes history, management committee, special features such as primary deities in the temple, religious activities, land status, future plans and the expectations from local authorities and the federal government.
Jeyaindran said the temples will be categorised according to grades determined by ownership of land and the committee or organisation’s registration.
The grades are:
>A-temple has an organisation registered with the Registrar of Societies and owns land,
>B-temple has registered organisation but land might not be owned by them,
>C-temple owned by a certain group of people or run by a family, and;
>D-shrines along roadside whose ownership is unknown.
He said the task force will work with the relevant authorities to relocate illegal temples.
Malaysian Hindudharma Mamandram president Professor Dr. N.S. Rajendran, who is heading the research team, said the database is expected to be completed in a year.
He said the task force will deploy field officers to identify temples in isolated places, post the registration forms to temples, create an online registration form and engage with other NGOs at the state level to document these places of worship.
Rajendran said the funding for the survey, from the MyNadi Foundation, was initially estimated to cost RM700,000.
"But, we are trying to cut it down by reducing the number of field officers and focusing on sending out the registration forms via post,
"We also hope the temple committees can come forward to register themselves," he said.
For more information and forms, please contact Rajendran at 019-210 1702.