Friday, April 22, 2011

Cheng continues to draw flak over holiday proposal

The proposal to cancel Deepavali and Wesak Day holidays is still hitting a raw nerve with politicians despite a reported denial by William Cheng.

GEORGE TOWN: Two Barisan Nasional local leaders have demanded a public apology from a Chinese business leader for stirring racial sentiments by suggesting the cancellation of public holidays for Deepavali and Wesak Day celebrations.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman William Cheng drew flak from Penang MIC youth wing chief J Dhinagaran and Penang Gerakan’s legal and human rights bureau head Baljit Singh over his alleged statement.

Dhinagaran slammed Cheng for insulting the minority groups in the country as if “they are insignificant and irrelevant for nation building.”

“The public holidays reflect the government’s multi racial policy.

“Cheng is obviously undermining it and showing a total disrespect for the contributions made by minorities to the country’s growth thus far.

“He owes minorities an immediate public apology,” insisted Dhinagaran, who’s also the MIC national youth treasurer.

This was concurred by Baljit, who added that Cheng was definitely not representing the general view of majority Malaysian Chinese.

He slammed Cheng for allegedly disgracing his own community as if suggesting that the “Chinese were money faced people.”

“Cheng should have been tactful because it involved religious sentiments of Malaysians.

“He seems to suggest a public holiday should only be given if the event was economically vibrant,” he said.

Why Deepavali and Wesak Day?

He said he could not understand why Cheng was singling out only Deepavali and Wesak Day celebrations when there were many other unnecessary public holidays.

Baljit, who is a Sikh, reminded Cheng even though Hindus and Buddhists were minorities, they too play a pivotal role in shaping the political and socio-economic landscapes in the country.

In another statement, DAP’s national vice-chairman M Kula Sagaran also lashed out at Cheng over his proposal.

“While it is fair and right for businessmen and employers to put productivity as their first priority, they must not think of robbing the Hindus and Buddhists of the two public holidays,” he said.

He added that Cheng should have instead complained of the last-minute declaration of public holidays by the government.

Parroting Umno’s views

In an interview with a vernacular newspaper last week, Cheng has purportedly called on the government to consider cancelling public holidays for Deepavali and Wesak Day because the festivals were not celebrated by majority Malaysians.

He complained that the country had too many holidays and that these were affecting the economy.

His suggestions drew criticism from various quarters, including MIC publicity and communication chief S Vell Paari, former president of Malaysia Hindu Sangam A Vaithilingam and commentators in portal mails, blogs and social network Facebook.

Some blasted Cheng for being racist and intolerant, while others chided him of being a greedy businessman with a motto of “money, money and make more money.”

Several commentators alleged that Cheng could well be parroting racist views of certain elements in ruling party, Umno.

Cheng, as quoted in a Tamil daily yesterday, denied making such a call.

Word “Paria” in Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka dictionary under racist UMNO PM Najib Razak’s orders.

url word paria

(see  The Sun  20/4/2011 at page 2)


From PJS1 longhouse to?

Disabled couple in dire straits

Unable to work and too old to apply for housing loans, they're among 41 families of Kampung Muniandy facing eviction.

KUALA LUMPUR: M Veeriah, a 60-year-old disabled man and his partially blind wife Tamilselvi, 59, will be homeless and destitute if the Selangor state government has its way.

Their home of 30 years in Kampung Muniandy PJS1 has been earmarked for demolishment on April 25 to make way for a school project.

In desperation, the couple turned up at the Human Rights Party headquarters in Bangsar to seek help and assistance.

S Jayathas, HRP’s information chief, took up the couple’s cause and this morning handed a memorandum addressed to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to halt the destruction of the couple’s home.

The memorandum was handed over to an official at the Parliament, to be delivered to Khalid later.

Jayathas pointed out that as the couple were unable to work and too old to apply for loans, they had nowhere else to go and the demolition would leave them without shelter.

He said that the Selangor government was “morally obliged” to provide alternative housing for free to settlers above the age of 50.

“The state government should at the very least provide them with rent-free homes throughout their lifetime,” said Jayathas.

Notice to move before April 25

He urged the state government to provide a written guarantee to these “underprivileged, victimised Indian settlers” to ensure that they would be sheltered.

The demolition notice requested that the residents move out before April 25.

Kampung Muniandy currently houses 41 Indian families, all of whom have been served eviction notices.

The project developer of Kampung Muniandy had in fact promised to build low cost houses for the initial group of 276 families seven years ago.

Of these, 235 have been shifted to low-cost housing scheme in Lembah Subang but 41 remained despite having signed Sale and Purchase agreements.

All of them paid deposits of up to RM4,000 for these homes costing between RM35,000 and RM42,000.

“The settlers have been waiting for the past seven years for their S&Ps by the developer to be honoured,” said Jayathas.

Groups blast 'cancel Deepavali, Wesak hols' call

(Malaysiakini) The call by the chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the public holidays of Deeapavali and Wesak to be cancelled and made into normal working days has raised the ire of groups, who have demanded that the remark be retracted and an apology issued. 

NONEWilliam Cheng (left) had reportedly lamented as 'too many' the number of public holidays for being bad for business. 

The government should consider cancelling Deepavali and Wesak Day, Cheng was said to have proposed, as only a “minority” group of people celebrate the occasions. 

Expressing “shock” at his statement today, DAP said expressed its “strongest objection” against the proposal.

First of all, said the party's national vice-chairperson, Hindus who celebrate Deepavali and Buddhists who celebrate Wesak are not a mere minority. 

“These festivals are celebrated by millions in this country,” said M Kulasegaran, who is also DAP's Ipoh Barat member of parliament.

maika holding shareholders meeting 300807 kulasegaranWhile it is fair and right for the business community and employers to put productivity as their first priority, they must not think of “robbing” the Hindus and Buddhists of the two public holidays.

“In fact, no one should rob any race or group of the current public holidays already gazetted,” said Kulasegaran (right), who said businesses should seek other ways to improve productivity instead of merely making a holiday a workday.

“Besides, public holidays encourage economic growth as more people will travel to tourist spots and throng the shopping centres,” he added. 

Cheng should realize that the declaration of some festivals as public holidays carries with it the significance of the government's respect for and recognition of the importance of the festivals, said Kulasegaran.

Cheng's statement that Deepavali and Wesak public holidays should be cancelled is thus is not only puzzling but “is in fact insensitive, irresponsible, totally ridiculous and unacceptable.”

“He must withdraw his comments and tender a public apology to the Hindus and Buddhists.”
Sin Chew runs clarification
Echoing his demands was the Malaysian Hindu Sangam, whose president RS Mohan Shan said It was “absolutely irresponsible” of Cheng to dismiss Deepavali and Wesak Day purportedly because the occasions are not celebrated by as many people as other festivities.

“Tan Sri William Cheng should have realised that his statement would hurt the sentiment and feelings of the Hindus and Buddhists in the country. 

“As a prominent person in the business community, he should have known that his statement would also have far-reaching consequences,” said Mohan Shan in a statement.

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam urged Cheng to immediately withdraw his statement and offer his apologies to the Hindus and Buddhists in the country for making “this extremely short-sighted and meaningless suggestion,” said Mohan Shan.
Meanwhile, the newspaper which first carried the news has published a clarification today that Cheng did not make the statement on removing Deepavali and Wesak as national public holidays.

Earlier this week, Sin Chew Daily quoted Cheng, who suggested a reduction of national public holidays from 17 days to 15 days, excluding Deepavali and Wesak

Video HINDRAF P.Ramesh: 20 police baton attack on head in pain after 8 days.