A drive through Taman Medan

IF you didn’t follow the news over the last one week, you wouldn’t know that the first-floor shoplot in Taman Medan in Petaling Jaya was the centre of a controversy.At 4.38pm on Thursday, it was void of activity.

The corner-lot church is one of the two dozen shoplots on Jalan PJS 2B/3, where only four shops are open – a 24-hour self-service laundry, a snooker centre, a karaoke joint and a newly-opened gym.

On Sunday, about 50 people including Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar, the elder brother of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, staged a protest against the church after the congregation put up a cross on the building.

Gathering at about 10am while church service was going on, the protesters contended that the sight of the cross in a largely Muslim area challenged Islam and could influence younger minds.

They were later pacified by Abdullah, who spoke to the church pastor. The church then took down the cross.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have said if the protest was seditious, the protesters would be subjected to the Sedition Act.

The shoplots, next to the New Pantai Expressway connecting Bangsar to Subang Jaya, were completed about two years ago. Known as Metro Square, the commercial lots look out of place amongst the dilapidated pigeonhole flats.

“Why are the shops vacant?” I asked Balan, a 60-something Taman Medan community mediator who did not want to be named.

“It is hidden. Not safe. There are gangsters. And there are drug addicts,” said Balan as he drove me around the notorious Taman Medan that saw racial clashes between Indians and Malays in 2001.

I called a real estate agent who told me the shops were vacant because of “high rental” and there was only one entrance to the commercial lots.

About 100m from the church, I met a tudung-wearing 18-year-old girl who lived in one of the pigeonhole flats. I asked her what she thought about the controversy.

“For my sister (24 years old and studying in a polytechnic), she’s not comfortable with the cross as it is next to a public place (self-service laundry). Now that it is no longer there, she is more comfortable,” said the teenager who studies in the nearby SMK Datuk Harun.

by PHILIP GOLINGAI.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/One-Mans-Meat/Profile/Articles/2015/04/25/A-drive-through-Taman-Megah/

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