Jan Leow's Press Blog

Shop-house churches must get permits

This is rather sad state of affairs. Government is using rules and regulations to curb the Churches expansion. The fact was, they didn’t even notify either via the media about passing this new legislation. They quietly passed the bill and could easily wreak havoc by saying all the Churches in shop house are now illegal and they have just cause to close them down, unless they apply for permit. Should the permit be refused by placing all kinds of restriction, then what?

Law is law, and ignorance is no excuse. Sure for now they say that they didn’t ask the churches to close down but to go get the permit. This could pave the way in future to close down churches should they wish to by denying approval of permits.

This development is rather ominous…

Shop-house churches must get permits
By: Maria J.Dass (Mon, 18 Feb 2008)
Source: http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=20794

PETALING JAYA (Feb 18, 2008): Churches in Subang Jaya which have been operating out of shop and factory lots have not been asked to close down, said incumbent Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng.

“We have not asked them to close down, but to submit their application for permits,” said Lee, adding that such churches have to get a permit to operate from business premises.

He said many of the churches which are not on religious land have not applied for these annual permits costing RM1,000.

Lee was responding to a statement by incumbent Seputeh MP Teresa Kok that churches in MPSJ need to show concern about the municipality’s draft local plan.

According to her, only one church (First Baptist in SS17) is deemed to be legally on religious land in Subang Jaya, and that all others are officially illegal.

Kok said most of the churches were unaware of the draft local plan and it was now too late to submit their objection as the objection period was over.

She had however filed an objection on the issue, and called for more religious land to be allotted for non-Muslim places of worship.

Lee, when contacted, said the opposition was twisting the issue as the council had not asked the churches to close down but asked them to apply for permits.

Asked if this was the same requirement imposed on mosques, suraus and temples, Lee said: “If they are on their own land then there is no need for them to apply for the permits for their religious houses, but in the cases of the churches, they need to apply for the permits because they are operating from out of the shoplots in business centres and factory lots in industrial areas.”

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