PENANG will be waiting for the Federal Government to draw up a mechanism to register existing non-Muslim houses of worship and their locations.
State Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state would have to view the mechanism first before taking further action.
“If it is going to be a national policy, Penang will probably, likely, follow suit,” he told a press conference after opening the ‘Green Buildings & GBI Certification’ seminar at Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.
Jagdeep Singh, who also chairs the state’s RIBI (houses of worship other than Islam) Committee, said that any applications pertaining to RIBI would have to be submitted to the RIBI Committee.
“No action can be taken until it comes to my committee. The committee will endeavor to strike a balance between all parties.
“Cases pertaining to RIBI are very sensitive. If there is a need to move (a RIBI), it will be done based on an agreement among all parties and not by force,” he said.
Jagdeep Singh said that the Committee handles several duties such as giving lands to RIBIs that applied, giving funds to RIBIs to renovate, repair or build their buildings and consider complaints or requests to move RIBIs.
It was reported that the Housing and Local Government Ministry was drawing up a law to make it compulsory for approval to be obtained for the construction of houses of worship.
Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had said that an exercise would be carried out to register existing houses of worship and their locations.
She was quoted as saying that the ministry would advise the house of worship to move to other location if it is located at a site that does not belong to it.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian