One City Development Sdn Bhd reiterated that it had nothing to do with the early morning scuffle at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple and is also seeking clarification from the police.
Melee on Monday:
- A group of armed intruders clashed with temple devotees
- Temple structure and statues of deities damaged
- 18 vehicles torched
- Several injured
- 17 people arrested
Mayhem on Tuesday:
- More than 1,000 people turned unruly, causing massive chaos
- 4 more cars set on fire
- A fire engine and a van from the fire department attacked and damaged
- A fireman seriously injured
- Glass facade of One City’s office smashed, reception area vandalised
- 4 more people arrested
The developer said it “shares the shock of the nation” regarding the temple incident and was surprised by reports and allegations that implied it was involved.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim had been quoted by Bernama as saying yesterday: “Perhaps the side wanting to take over (the land) engaged a group of Malay men to facilitate the acquisition. It is possible that they are gangsters and, of course, the Indian group attempted to check the intrusion.”
He said a preliminary investigation found that it could be due to the acquisition of land in the area that is said to have been done in an “unpleasant manner” between the landowner and the temple.
Noor Rashid clarified that the scuffle at the temple was not a racial clash.
“I have to clarify because it is a sensitive issue and I don’t want anyone to take advantage (of the situation). There is no issue of a racial clash,” he was quoted as saying yesterday.
He said the incident started at about 2.30am after a group of at least 50 men, believed to be Malays, intruded into the temple.
“Several caretakers noticed it and contacted their friends. About 200 Indian men rushed there and cordoned off the temple.
“When the police arrived, the intruders attempted to flee and a clash erupted between the two groups.”
In seeking further clarification on these remarks, One City said it always followed the rule of law and due process.
It said this was evident by both the lengthy court cases it had gone through and discussions held with the relevant stakeholders.
One City added its compensation of land for a new site for the temple at RM1.5 million, as well as its willingness to delay the relocation of the temple to accommodate devotees was evidence of its commitment to a “peaceful resolution to this matter”.
“We abhor the violence that took place this morning and would never even think of being involved in such acts. Furthermore, pursuant to the 2014 consent judgment, we would have no reason to engage mobs as the authorities are already bound by the court order to assist in the process with the ultimate goal of ensuring a peaceful relocation.”
In its statement today, the developer said: “One City respects the authorities’ investigation into this morning’s incident, and we hope that the authorities can share any evidence allegedly linking us to the incident, as implied.
“One City has always been open and transparent in this matter. We are more than willing to assist the authorities in their investigations and have nothing to hide. In fact, One City’s senior management has already communicated with the police and fixed an appointment to assist the police in their investigation.”
Earlier, the developer had slammed allegations linking it to the riot at the temple as “malicious lies” and said it would pursue legal action against defamatory statements made against it.
Meanwhile, the magistrate’s court has issued a remand order for two days against two of One City’s employees and a remand order of four days for another against another of its employees to help in investigations into the commotion.
This morning, police personnel helped clear the burnt wreckage of several cars outside the temple which was again a scene of violent demonstration yesterday night.
There were four burnt-out cars just outside the temple and one inside its compound, believed to be the company car of One City.
It was reported that some of the temple’s devotees have refused to surrender the car inside the compound, claiming that there is proof of a parking access card purportedly belonging to One City inside, linking the company to the demonstration last night.
“The owner of this car has been asked to claim the vehicle, instead of having it towed away without a claimant,” a volunteer at the temple was quoted as saying.
More than a thousand devotees gathered at the temple late last night, but tempers soon flared and the assembly turned rowdy with acts of vandalism committed.
The crowd cheered as a car was set on fire.
When a fire engine arrived at the scene to douse the flames, protesters charged towards the vehicle, shattering its windscreen and forcing it to retreat.
An Emergency Medical Rescue Services van that was following the fire engine was attacked by the protestors, leaving its rear windows smashed and dents on its door.
At the same time, another group of protesters set a second car ablaze.
Some of the protesters threatened media personnel and warned them against taking pictures or videos.
At about 2.10am, a group marched from the temple to the nearby MCT Tower where the office One City is located.
They hurled stones and smashed the building’s glass facade.
Some of them entered the office and did more damage to the reception area before heading back to the temple and as police reinforcements arrived.
According to a former temple committee chief, the unruly crowd in the wee hours today were not locals.
M Nagaraju said that the crowd refused to listen to instructions, Malaysiakini reported.
“We tried to advise them, but they refused to listen to us.
“We understand their anger, but this is not the way to react,” he was quoted as saying.
Related report: Nov 26, Riot Breaks Out over Relocation of Subang Jaya Temple