Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anti-Indian Interlok campaign will backfire

Plans by two NGOs to campaign against Indian reps in the coming polls will cost Barisan Nasional dear, says Klang MP Charles Santiago.

KUALA LUMPUR: If the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) and National Writers Association (Pena) go ahead with their plan to campaign against Indian candidates in the 13th general election, then it will be Barisan Nasional which will suffer.

According to DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago, since MPM and Pena were aligned to BN, the coalition’s Indian-based parties would receive the worst brunt of the campaign.

“It is the Indian BN parliamentarians who would be more affected, especially the MIC. MIC would suffer more.

“It is the first time that organised groups within BN are going against its framework.

“In the recent by-election, the Malays did not vote Pakatan Rakyat Indian leaders because of the Interlok controversy,” he told FMT.

Santiago was commenting on MPM and Pena’s statements vowing not to support any Indian candidates in the upcoming election.

Their assertions were part of two memorandums which were handed over, albiet separately, to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Both MPM and Pena had reportedly felt that Indian leaders had successfully manipulated and convinced the government to bow to the demands of the Indian community over the Interlok book.

Respect decision

Meanwhile, Hulu Selangor parliamentarian P Kamalanathan, who could not be reached, wrote in his blog that he stood by the government’s decision on the Interlok issue although “it did not please everyone”.

“It is imperative that the leadership makes a decision that is firm, fair and addressed the fundamental role of the government to uphold peace and unity in the nation at all times.

“We are all aware that no decision will please everybody but we must respect and believe in the wisdom of our leaders chosen in a democratic process,” said the MIC man.

Kamalanathan also pledged to serve his constituents “without any bias on their religious, political or social standings”.

Selangor state councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, meanwhile, has called for the issue to be looked at from a Malaysian perspective.

He said it was the responsibility of all races to maintain harmony in the country.

Warning groups not to “play the racial game”, the Selangor state exco member said Indians were not challenging the free will of the author Abdullah Hussein.

Instead the community merely wanted the Form Five book replaced with another one that promoted racial harmony.

The Interlok book has been shrouded by controversy over the usage of the term “pariah”, which is considered deragatory to the Indian community.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had on Jan 27, announced that an independent panel would be set up to amend the book.

Ex-Hindraf leaders declare Bukit Gasing temple 'open'

(Malaysiakini) The Sivan Temple atop Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya is now open to the public. So declared two former leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who had once been detained under the Internal Security Act.
The duo - DAP's Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan and Human Rights Party secretary-general P Uthayakumar - called on all Hindu devotees and everyone to come back to the temple.
"It is safe... the landslide more than two years was not caused by the temple," Uthayakumar said at the temple compound yesterday.

NONEIn April 2008, the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya city halls ordered the closure of the Sivan Temple after extension work on the temple was deemed to have caused a landslide on the Petaling Jaya side.

Uthayakumar claimed that it was not a landslide but erosion of the topsoil. 

There were more dangerous construction projects and high-rise buildings in much steeper areas of Bukit Gasing that could easily trigger landslides, he said, claiming that the 'unsafe' excuse was used to permanently close down the temple.
'Constitutional right to religion'
"No mosque, surau, church or Chinese or Buddhist temple was ever closed down in Malaysia. Why does this happen only to Hindu temples?" he asked, describing the action on the temple as contravention of freedom of religion as guaranteed under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

NONEUthayakumar (right) also called on the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government to alienate the land the temple was sited on to the temple trustees within 30 days and to gazette it accordingly, instead of resorting to temporary solutions provided all along by the former BN state government.

Manoharan said the Sivan Temple has been very close to his heart since his student days in University Malaya more than 20 years ago.

A pioneer volunteer at the temple, M Maharathan, said no one should be deprived of their rights in religion.

"I do not care about politicians or about politics. I just do not want to be deprived of my religious practice. No one has the right to shut down temples... I have been coming here for many years," he said.

Some 30 people gathered at the temple about noon yesterday to show their support for its re-opening.

Uthaya and Manoharan: We declare Bukit Gasing Sivan temple open to public from today