10,000 attend opening of Kuan Yin pavilion
About 10,000 visitors, including 3,000 Buddhist delegates from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka witnessed the grand opening of a 20-storey high Octagonal Pavilion covering the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) at the Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam here today.
The opening of the new religious landmark – a three-tiered roof pavilion supported by 16 granite pillars, which serves as a shelter to the 30.2 metre-tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin – coincided with the temple’s 118th anniversary as well as the 20th memorial ceremony for the temple’s fourth chief abbot, Venerable Bai Sheng.
Present were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s department and Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Housing and Local Government Minister and MCA vice president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
Also present were state Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye, Penang Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P. Ramasamy, state executive councillors Lim Hock Seng and Phee Boon Poh, state asemblymen Sim Tze Tzin, Jason Ong, and Koid Teng Guan, Guan Eng’s wife Betty Chew, DAP Stalwart Lim Kit Siang, and Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong.
Berjaya Corporation Berhad chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan and business tycoon Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping were also among the VIP guests at the ceremony.
Koh, in this speech, congratulated the temple committee for their hard work in making the place into the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and Southeast Asia after 100 years of development.
“The temple is a triving symbol of Buddhism, a tourism attraction and a manifestation of the freedom of religion as stated in the Federal Constitution,” said Koh, who later handed over a RM1 million cheque to Kek Lok Si Temple trustee Datuk Steven Ooi, as the federal government’s allocation towards the temple’s building fund.
Later, Guan Eng, on behalf of the state government, thanked the federal government for providing the funds to the temple, noting it was the first time the federal government had made an allocation for the temple.
He expressed hope that Kuan Yin would bless Penangites with good health, safety, prosperity and happiness.