Registrar clears monastery

By LEE YUK PENG, The Star, August 11, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A monastery that has been mired in controversy for its closed-door practice has been found by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to have complied with its own constitution.

Registrar Datuk Md Alias Kalil said he was satisfied with the response given by the meditation centre in Kajang to its letter in June seeking an explanation for why it had allowed two laymen to sit on its committee.

(The by-laws of the meditation centre had stipulated that only monks could hold the posts.)

“But the by-laws also allow them to appoint laymen to sit on the committee if there is no one else,” he said.

Attempts to contact the monks at the Buddhist meditation centre were futile as the calls went unanswered.

On June 9, The Star reported that the monastery only opened its doors to its 33 members although it was built on public donations.

About 100 Buddhist devotees have been clamouring for its reopening since last year.

Several university students, who once acted as volunteers there, started an online petition which questioned why the public had been shut out since October 2006.

They claimed that the centre, which has assets worth RM10.8­mil, was locked in an internal conflict among the monks.

The petition committee had approached the police, the ROS and the Immigration Department to intervene in the matter.

Chief High Priest of Malaysia K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera of the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields had said he would try to help to resolve the dispute.

When met at a religious education forum on Aug 3, he said the matter had yet to be settled.

Rev Mingji, head of the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur branch of the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA), said a legal team had been set up to handle the problem.

“I hope the legal team will have a decision in a few weeks’,” he said when met at that same religious education forum.

The centre is a member of MBA.