Lumpur, July 18: The Malaysian government will consider new
applications from Hindu temples and gurudwaras for priests,
musicians and artisans from foreign countries, from next month.
and gurudwaras in the country heavily rely on priests and
musicians from India. However, the Malaysian government had
cut down on issuing visas to them in recent months.
Resources Minister S Subramaniam said visas and permits for
these foreigners would be valid for a maximum period of three
years and based on strict guidelines.
150 temples and Sikh gurudwaras throughout the country will
be involved in the exercise. The government will study the
needs and requirements of other temples and gurudwaras from
time to time," local media said today quoting a statement
from the minister.
government felt that youth in the country should be trained
in these fields to reduce dependency on foreigners. However,
sources said because of the low pay scale very few local youths
were attracted to the field.
minister also said more natives would be trained to reduce
dependency on foreigners.
May, Hindu Endowment Board chief A Thanashekaran had said
the government had refused to approve the extension of permits
and rejected new applications for foreign priests and temple
musicians from India, causing existing visas to be extended
on a month-to-month basis at 50 ringgit (Rs 60) a month.