Friday, October 10, 2008

Mkini Letter -Hindraf has just causes to be aggrieved

Stephen Ng Oct 10, 08 5:23pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Hindraf-bashing 'politically motivated'.I am not a Hindraf activist nor am I condoning their actions over what was allegedly a commotion that they had caused during the festive celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre.However, as a fellow Malaysian struggling to understand why certain people behave in a certain manner, I can fully understand why they are an aggrieved lot.

It is reported that 27 Hindu temples, which are sacred to them, have been demolished over the years. In their opinion, the government has sidelined them, and unless they create some ‘noise’, no one would even pay attention to their plight.Five of their leaders are still under ISA detention. Muslims are told to forgive each other in the spirit of the Raya celebrations but as Deepavalli is round the corner, the families of the five Hindraf activists have to embrace the prospect of not being able to celebrate Deepavalli with these detainees.
Sadness will be turned into anger, and many observers like us would throw our arm around them and say, ‘Yes, we understand your predicament. We are with you, brothers!
’Politics aside, when the Hindraf supporters turned up at the prime minister’s open house, they had good intentions else, they would not have brought flowers and bring the daughter of one of the ISA detainees to present them to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.No matter how good their intentions are, a slight provocation may have caused some of them to lash out; hence, the commotion which is what we see happening.

For Umno Youth Selangor to call for stern action against the Hindraf supporters, it is again a show of arrogance and intolerance. It is this same attitude that has distanced Umno from the majority of Malaysians, as seen from the last political tsunami. Just as the Hari Raya celebrations are important to any Muslim, the demolition of Hindu temples has indeed caused grievances to the Indian community in the past.
It is time that the government solve this issue by approving proper land for non-Muslim religious groups as what the Selangor government has done recently. Without this, it is no point of talking about respecting each other’s religion. If the Pakatan state government can immediately remedy this situation, what more at the federal level. The issues should be dealt with more care and tact.