In light of the dispute at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariaman Temple, Klang MP Charles Santiago proposed the Selangor State Government to adopt the “Mid Valley” solution of peaceful coexistence between the temple and the developer, according to FMT.
But why the “Mid Valley” solution? What has “Mid Valley” got to do with all of this?
The Mid Valley solution should be seen as a viable option as the Sri Maha Sakthi Mohambigai Amman Temple and Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur serves as proof to the public that both heritage and development can co-exist.
According to Mid Valley City’s former Managing Director, M. K. Sen, building the temple within the mall was one of the three major challenges faced by developer IGB Corp Bhd.
The other challenges include rehousing 600 impoverished families and the acquisition of around 10 units of private homes.
Having successfully resolved the housing issues, M.K. Sen told The Star that he did not take the easy route in settling the issues related to the temple and its holy Bodhi tree.
“We could have just cut down the tree but that was not something I was able to accept without understanding the consequences and the importance of it.”
With only one of the original two Bodhi trees left, Sen decided to engage with the temple’s board of trustees.
“They made a plea for us to help them stay where they are, given the fact that this was a very spiritual tree” adding that the tree possesses a spiritual power in the form of the white naga (snake).
When the decision was made to keep the temple, it was now time to consult the mall’s board of directors – to build the world’s first temple within a mall.
“They had concerns, especially since the temple had to be located at the east entrance, the prized entry point of any mall.”
After successfully convincing the board, IGB Corp offered the temple trustees a 30,000 sq ft space, a 90-year lease, carparks for devotees and a small accommodation for the late priestess and her family.
In return, IGB a Corp asked the temple to blend its height and size into the mall and payment of RM10 for rental space.
Opening in the year 2000 with the temple opening a year later, the mall continues to prove doubters wrong for embarking on such a project.
“To say that ‘I cannot have a temple within a megamall’ is a statement made by people who have never done it.”
“Mid Valley has proven that it is possible and it is now one of the most successful malls in Asia.”
“The success of our story shows that there is nothing wrong in providing a spiritual space for people going to a mall.”
“Some may want to go shopping (or) eating but there may be a few who just want to sit down somewhere, enjoy the serenity of the place (and) receive some spiritual blessing.”
Charles Santiago had earlier stated that lessons should be learned from the Seafield incident and that “local sensitivities have to be incorporated as part of the business plan. Not just corporate social responsibility.”
If they can make it happen with Mid Valley, why not elsewhere too?
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