RESTORATION work on the 214-year-old Guan Yin or Goddess of Mercy Temple on Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling is expected to start next month.
Kong Hock Keong board of trustees chairman Datuk Lam Wu Chong said work would kick off following the Home Ministry’s approval of the work permits for 20 craftsmen from China.
“We needed to hire the workers from China for their expertise in temple restoration.
“We’re also applying visas for another 15 craftsmen from China,” he said during a site inspection with officers from the ministry at the temple yesterday.
He added that the temple committee had explained to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong’s special officers Datuk Lua Choon Hann and Ng Chok Yin, who were also present, on the need for the craftsmen.
“We would very much like to hire local craftsmen but we could not find anyone with the expertise.
“Designs of the temple during the restoration will be done according to the original design plan of which we managed to obtain a copy from China.
“Some of the materials for the restoration work which we have ordered from China, like wood and stones, have also arrived,” he said.
Lam said the restoration work would cost RM6mil to complete, adding that the temple was still in the process of raising funds.
Lua said the ministry would provide the necessary assistance to the temple in order for the restoration work to run smoothly.
“Before this, we only got to know about the issue through news reports. We had thought that the restoration work was meant for the damaged portion but now we understand that it will cover the whole temple,” he said.
It was reported that four statues of deities in the temple were damaged by falling roof tiles during a downpour on Oct 17.
Nobody was injured and the affected section was ordered closed temporarily for at least three months as a safety precaution.
Present during the visit yesterday were Komtar Barisan Nasional coordinator Loh Chye Teik and Pengkalan Kota Barisan co- ordinator Loke Poh Chye.