KUALA LUMPUR: The Perlis state government has been accused of being discourteous to non-Muslim residents of government flats by ordering them to remove prayer altars from the corridors.

The assemblyman for Indera Kayangan, Chan Ming Kai of PKR, said the state government should have dealt with the issue by talking to the residents of Seri Sena PPR flats, and not by threatening to cancel the residents’ tenancy contracts.

He said he had written to the Raja of Perlis about the matter. The ruler is head of Islam in the state.

Chan said prayer boards put outside the homes by devotees of the “Sky God (Ti Gong)” could not be moved indoors just as Muslims could not be asked to change the direction of the kiblat.

“A house is not just for living but is a personal space, it should include access to food, work, community, security, and of course, the freedom to practise religion,” 

Chan told Malaysiakini. “If Astro and air-conditioning units can be installed, no reason why praying boards can be an issue when they really do not block the corridor.”

Chong said satellite television dishes and air-conditioners, as well as clothes lines and flower pots had been put up without approval but residents were never threatened with loss of tenancy.

Some residents at Seri Sena flats in Kangar received notices from the state housing department last week that the altars violated the terms of their rental agreement.

The residents were given a week to remove the altars or risk termination of their lease.

Perlis MCA chairman Chua Tee Yong was quoted as saying that administratators must take into account the people’s feelings and society’s perceptions. He regretted that a controversy had arisen merely weeks before Lunar New Year celebrations.

Source from http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/

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