‘Hindu board will ensure temple management transparency’

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PUTRAJAYA — The proposed Hindu Endowment Board will not interfere with the administrative and financial management of individual Hindu temples nationwide but will only ensure transparency in temple management, said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.

“There is no reason for them to do so as the board, modelled after the Penang’s Hindu Endowment Board, will only act as a centralised body to channel and manage government funding to these temples.

“What is most important is that all temple financial accounts must be readily available for public scrutiny,” he said yesterday.

In Penang, the endowment board oversees the governance of temples, landed property, buildings, houses, burial grounds and money donated for the benefit of the Hindu community.

Kulasegaran also said the board would facilitate the approvals of Hindu priests from overseas especially those from India with other Hindu temples as there were many vetting restrictions enforced by the previous government.

“It must be clearly understood that the board will never take over any temple or dictate how to perform prayers.

“The whole idea at the end of the day is accountability, where the public can see how much funds are channelled, and let the Hindus decide on their own as they have the best experience,” he added.

He said town hall sessions with the ministry were ongoing to obtain input from stakeholders such as NGOs, the public and temple committees to discuss the proposal.

“I will also bring this up to Parliament to formulate a new law,” he said.

Asked if such a move would invite resistance from existing temple committees, Kula said he does not see a problem as the committees were currently submitting their financial accounts to the Registrar of Society.

“If they can submit to RoS, why can’t they submit to their own people. It is better for the Hindus to look after themselves rather than RoS,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran urged Hindu temples nationwide to do their part for society by donating to the Tabung Harapan Malaysia fund.

“I am happy that temples are playing their role in society by being concerned with problems faced by the country,” he said.

Kulasegaran said many other countries had called on their people to help during times of crisis, as seen in South Korea during 1998.

He said Malaysians could be proud that they are showing immense patriotism for the country by donating to help pay the country’s debts.