Monday, November 29, 1999

Malaysian temples to heighten security over terror threat

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Kuala Lumpur, June 18 (IANS) Temples in Malaysia, including the ancient Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam in Batu Caves, will step up security following a threat to blow up places of worship reportedly issued by banned outfit Jemmah Islamia (JI).'We will install CCTVs within the perimeter of the temple and have more security guards to carry out patrols,' said R. Nadarajah, chairman of the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam temple.'I was shocked after reading about the threat,' he told The Star newspaper.Nadarajah said the 24-member temple committee would hold an emergency meeting soon to discuss additional security. He added that he would request for more police presence near the temple grounds.The temple, also known as Batu Caves Temple in Malaysia, is a prominent pilgrimage site that attracts a large number of tourists from across the world.The managing body of the Chinese Kek Lok Si Temple in Georgetown has also urged that a police beat post be set up at its premises.'I'm shocked that some people have planned this terror plot,' said temple trustee Steven Ooi.N. Ramanathan, managing trustee of the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple Trust, said they would tighten security at the four temples under their purview.These include the Kovil Veedu in Penang Street and the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple in Waterfall Road in the national capital.Indian and Chinese are significant ethnic minorities in multi-racial Malaysia.Estimated at about 1.7 million, ethnic Indians, most of whom settled here during the British era, constitute about eight percent of the 2.8 million population.

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