SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Residents of Singapore are becoming increasingly concerned over the expansion of religious organizations’ buildings after the government relaxed rules on space for religious activities in the city-state.
“I don’t know if it is a bad thing, but it is something that we are all watching closely, because we don’t really want any religious group getting too big that it overtakes neighborhoods,” said Thomas Johnson, a Singapore citizen, who told Bikyamasr.com that “people are not really worried about the messages coming from these places, just how it looks in the city.”
The San Qing Gong Taoist temple, located in Bedok, is one of them.
When it was built in 2003, it was only allowed to build to a height of three storeys.
As the area was small, the space was not enough for the temple’s needs.
So it welcomes the news, when the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports issued new guidelines, which allow for an increase of maximum allowable plot ratio and storey height.
Places of worship at low-density housing areas can increase from three to four storeys.
The temple has applied for permission to build an additional one to two storeys.
Ju Si Lin Buddhist Lodge has also put in an application in January.
It has been using its main hall for 43 years.
It plans to re-construct the main hall, to six storeys, with an additional three storeys underground.
With the expansion, it will be a center of activity, especially for the elderly living in the area.—www.shafaqna.com/english