Malaysia sets up academy for Hindu priests, Move to increase the own number of holy men from Malaysia
Posted by hinduexistence on April 6, 2010
Malaysia’s 3,000 Hindu temples nationwide presently use 350 priests from India- AFP
Malaysia sets up academy for Hindu priests
(AFP) – April 5th 2010
Human resources minister S. Subramaniam’s announcement came after the government rescinded a 2008 immigration ban on Indian priests aimed at cutting the country’s foreign workforce.
“With the academy, the community is also assured of qualified and accredited priests to perform various Hindu ceremonies,” the minister was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper.
“Prior to the setting up of this academy…there was no standardisation.
“Now, we are regularising every aspect of priest training and priesthood,” added Subramanian, who is also secretary-general of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), part of the ruling coalition.
He said the government-funded academy run by the Hindu Priests Association would help train, grade and certify priests for the 3,000 Hindu temples nationwide which presently use 350 priests from India.
Malaysia has launched plans to reduce its total of 1.9 million foreign workers. Indians form the third-largest workforce in Malaysia, with 140,000 workers, most hired by restaurants.
The conservative nation has been beset by religious disputes in recent months with a spate of firebombings against churches and mosques in January, triggered by a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” as a translation for “God” by non-Muslims.
The country also saw unprecedented protests in 2007 alleging ethnic Indians faced discrimination at the hands of Muslim Malays.
The rows have strained relations between Malays and minorities who fear the country is being “Islamised.”
About 60 percent of the nation’s 28 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims while the rest are mostly ethnic Indians and Chinese, who are largely Hindu, Buddhist or Christian.
Move to increase the own number of holy men from Malaysia
IPOH, MALAYSIA: An academy has been set up to train and accredit Hindu priests in the country in a move to reduce the number of foreign priests from India.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Government had been toying with the idea of setting up such an academy for more than 15 years.
“At present, there are people practising locally as temple priests with various types of training which are very confusing.
“With the setting up of an academy, there will be a national body to recognise and accredit the priests,” he said after launching the academy at Jalan Pasar in RPT Jelapang Tambahan here yesterday.
He said at present, there were 350 priests from India serving at various local Hindu temples in the country.
“But there is a need for thousands of priests,” Dr Subramaniam said, admitting however that the local Hindu community might take some time to get used to the idea of having locally trained priests.
Dr Subramaniam said the Hindu Priests Association would be in charge of the syllabus which had been drawn up after consultation with leading institutions in India.
He said under the syllabus, it would take five years to become a full-fledged priest.
“There are five grading, allowing those at each level to perform different functions,” he said, adding that, for example, those who passed Grade One could perform the worship ritual pooja while those with Grade Five could consecrate new temples.
Courtesy : AFP, ANN, Star News.