SEMENYIH — Driving along Jalan Sg Lalang here, one will surely see a mosque and a Hindu temple located directly opposite each other.
For outsiders, questions will definitely come to mind, as to how it would be when both places carried out their respective religious activities, and how both the Muslims and Hindu devotees would react to it.
The location of both Kampung Pasir Baru Mosque and the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, particularly with their respective entrances are facing each other, as well as other places of worship established in the constituency, clearly testing the spirit of unity and goodwill between the Malays, Indians and Chinese communities here.
According to the temple committee president M. Rajasegar, 63, it has been the practice of the residents of Kampung Pasir Baru to tolerate each other when comes to religious ceremonies.
“Thus far, we don’t have any conflict and everything is fine. In fact, the children in this village have also shown high level of tolerance whenever we organised celebrations at the temple.
“Not only that, the youngsters will reduce the volume of traditional musical instruments especially the drums when there is an Azan (call for prayers for Muslims) that will last for a few minutes to give way to our Muslim friends to perform their prayers,” said Rajasegar, who lived in the village since the age of four.
Interestingly, both the temple and the mosque are also sharing the same parking space, and despite the fact that the space would be very limited especially during the Friday prayers, there has never been any dissatisfaction between the Muslims and Hindu devotees.
“Often this area will be crowded on Fridays as we hold our prayers at the temple at the same time as our Muslims friends perform their Friday prayers but it has been our custom to compromise and practice the value of harmony,” he said.
One of the mosque’s congregation member, Hamzah Mohd Shapi, 69, also agreed that tolerance and goodwill played integral elements in maintaining the harmony among the various races here.
“If there are some minor problems, both, us at the mosque and the temple committee would not turn them into huge issue. There has never been any dispute here. Everything is fine.
“Our village chief also plays a good and important role by safeguarding the welfare of both groups,” he said.
Hamzah said since the time he decided to settle in the area in 1973, the relationship between the Malays and Indians has been very good as the village area was made up of rubber estates workers and away from Semenyih town.
“Our Indian neighbours would invite us to watch movies as there was not much entertainment at that time. It was fun,” he said.
Apart from the temple and the mosque, the harmonious relationship between various communities is highly visible in the constituency as there is also the Fatt Hwa Gong, a Buddhist temple, located next to Sri Thavamunisvarar Temple, about four kilometres from Semenyih town.