“Is there something fishy about allegation of Hindu temples, their land transfer to past PHEB management?”

ABOUT few days ago, I sought an explanation from the Penang Hindu Endowments (PHEB) chairman about the proposed transfer of temples and their lands over to the former management committee (committee that managed the temples before the current PHEB board took over recently).

One example is the Perai Vinayagar Temple (main image above). A few days back, the present Penang state government EXCO apparently handed over the temple to the former committee.

Following this, the former committee was advised by the EXCO member to seek registration under the Registrar of Society (ROS).

If temples are located on lands owned by the PHEB, there is no necessity for the management committees to be registered under the ROS unless – of course – the lands have also been transferred.

It must be borne in mind that the properties of the PHEB, lands, temples, properties and others are considered as “endowments” that cannot be alienated to others.

These are properties held in trust by the PHEB for the welfare and well-being of the Hindu community in Penang.

The management of the PHEB might come under the state but the power to amend the laws pertaining to its existence comes under the Federal government.

This is why every year the PHEB has to submit its audited accounts to the relevant Federal department or ministry before a report could be tabled at the Parliament.


The Indian EXCO who happens to be one of the commissioners of the PHEB might not understand the laws relating to its functioning. I was informed that he made the decision after seeking the clearance of the state EXCO to hand over the temple to the old committee.

But unfortunately, he never – out of ignorance probably – cleared the matter with PHEB’s board of directors before making the populist decision.

This is why about few days ago, I posted an article asking the PHEB’s chairman to clear the confusion on the “transfer” to the Hindu public. I am writing this piece on the same subject as result of complaints from the Hindu public in Penang.

My question is simple and straightforward: Was both the management of the Perai Vinayagar Temple and properties transferred over the old committee?

Is this the reason why the committee is seeking a separate registration from ROS? Was the advice to do so given by the Indian EXCO member?

Did the Exco member also promised them that the land, burial ground and others would be transferred in due course to the old committee?

Did the Indian EXCO clear the matter with the PHEB before taking the matter to the state government? Does the EXCO member think that the state EXCO could override the decisions of the PHEB?

Parliament intervention

It is the responsibility and duty of the present PHEB chairman to clear the matter of transfer of the Perai temple and properties once and for all for the benefit of Penang Hindus.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy (right)

Handing over the management of PHEB’s temples to local Hindus is something normal but certainly not the alienation of the properties that are termed as “endowments”.

It would take an act of the Parliament to transfer PHEB properties that are held in trust for the Hindus in Penang.

If the matter of the transfer of the temple and properties is not cleared as soon as possible, I would have no choice to hand over the matters to my lawyers to write to the Attorney-General (AG).

Meanwhile, the PHEB should call an emergency board meeting to seek clarification from the Indian EXCO member as to his recent actions with regard to the Perai Vinayagar Temple. – April 1, 2024


Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the United Rights of Malaysian Party (URIMAI) interim council.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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