Last Saturday, chapel caretaker Puanheerby Siam was served with the demolition notice dated Sept 20 by the council's building department, stating the building was in violation of Section 70 of the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act 1974.
That particular section regulates the construction of new buildings and Pastor Joseph Boon Chai, who oversees the chapel, said no specific reason was given by the authority for its action.
According to him, officials from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), Malacca Islamic Religious Council (Maim) and Department of Orang Asli Affairs informed Puanheerby two months ago that the chapel was illegal because it did not have permission from the local council.
"But why are Jakim and Maim involved in this case? We are puzzled. What is the main motive behind this?" Joseph said when contacted today.
He argued that the area has been categorised as an Orang Asli settlement, therefore the residents have every right to construct buildings within the area.
There are about 20 households in this Temuan settlement, which has been occupied by the Orang Asli since the days of the Japanese Occupation.
The Muslims there have a surau
The construction of the 20ft by 30ft chapel was completed in March this year to serve 11 Christian families from the Machap Umboo settlement and two more Orang Asli villages nearby.
It is under the pastoral care of Jus Chapel based in Kamping Orang Asli Jus in Selandar, Malacca. Jus Chapel is a registered church with the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) Malaysia, under the mission name of Jus Chapel Tribal Ministry.
To date, Jus Chapel has built five chapels in various Orang Asli settlements.
Joseph also said two of the five chapels had faced the same problem before, but after they demanded that the authority issues official letters detailing the reasons for the demolition, it kept silent and eventually dropped the matter.
The village has only two Muslims, but the authority had built a suraufor them, he said.
Joseph revealed that the matter has been raised with the NECF and a legal panel has been set up to tackle the issue.
"Depending on the situation, we plan to challenge the demolition order in court," he added.