Minister: Hindu Endowment Board won’t take over management of individual Hindu temples
Malay Mail June 12, 2018
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 fundings to these temples.
“What is most important is that all temples financial accounts must be readily available and available for public scrutiny,” he said today. 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 them on how to perform prayers. “The whole idea at the end of the day is accountability where the public can see how much funds are channeled and let the Hindus decide on their own as they have the best experience,” he added temples must now move forwards towards transformation and change. He said town hall sessions with the ministry were ongoing to obtain inputs from stakeholders such as NGOs, the public and temple committees to discuss the proposal that would be inclusive to all. “I will also bring this up to Parliament to formulate a new law similiar to the board in Penang whereby each state were free to choose whether to participate within the board,” he said. Asked if such a move would invite resistance from existing temple committees, Kula said he does not see a problem with that 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 as it is better for the Hindus to cater to themselves rather than RoS which lacked the expertise,” he said.