Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just a "Small" Matter of Temple Breaking

About three weeks ago Ampang Jaya Municipal Council demolished the Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple at Kampung Tasek Tambahan. There was a total blackout on the incident for more then a week... and then the facts started to trickle in and PKR's house of cards began to fall.

First, there is Anwar's famous election slogan "Kerajaan BN roboh kuil. Kalau Pakatan tubuh kerajaan, kita akan bina kuil!". There was much applause and shouts of support whenever those words were uttered. Pakatan managed to from state governments in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor in part due to such promises.

How many temples have you built PKR? None, but you have already demolished a temple!

PKR 1, Indian Community 0.

Then there was a fervent attempt to hush up the whole temple demolition episode. A Malaysian Nanban reporter that went to the site a few days after the demolition was threatened and told not to publish the news. He was also told that "Makkal Sakti" will demonstrate in front of their office if the news is published.

Interesting how anyone can claim to represent "Makkal Sakti" and threaten almost anyone with it. The temple committee itself did not raise the issue as they were Pakatan supporters. So much for transparency and openness promised before the election.

PKR 2, Indian Community 0.

Dr Xavier criticized MPAJ and washed his hands by saying that the state government had no knowledge about it. What happened to the much promised accountability during the campaign?
PKR 3, Indian Community 0.

He was also quick to point out that MIC is politicising the issue. Politicising the issue? Hello, can Dr Xavier say with confidence that PKR would have formed the state government if not for the Kg Karuppiah Temple (Padang Jawa) demolition this time last year? It was not politics then but it is politics now! Yes, right! Its is politics when its convenient for them!
PKR 4, Indian Community 0.

Dr Xavier went on to split hairs on the issue by saying that it was a "shrine" and not a "temple". According to him the temple had no permit and was on state land. Since when they started to make such distinctions? Since winning the election and forming the state government?

In that case can Dr Xavier point to one temple (or even a "shrine" for that matter) that was properly registered and built on its own land but subsequently broken by the BN government? Didn't Pakatan stoke the fire of discontent and rode to power on those sentiments? Why the double standard?

PKR 5, Indian Community 0.

The person that took the cake in this whole episode must be the Ampang MP, YB Zuraida Kaamaruddin. According to her, the temple was not broken by MPAJ but by the temple committee itself for renovation works. She must have said it in confidence that the pro Pakatan Temple Committee Members would back-up her spin. And they did by their silence! How insulting!

And what a mess they left behind when they "broke the temple for renovation!" The temple committee must have been in one big hurry as they broke the temple without removing the 'soolam' that was at the centre of worship and left the temple in one big rubble . Her statement is in direct conflict with the admission by MPAJ, Dr Xavier and YB Manikavasagam.

What does she think we are? Idiots? Instead of admitting as to what went wrong, here we have an MP who is trying to lie and spin a new story. To be fair, we can't totally blame her as we have been buying all PKR's spin so far.

PKR 6, Indian Community 0.

For those readers who would like to point out BN's poor track record when it comes to handling of the temple issue, let me save everyone's time by admitting that YES, we do have a poor record! And we paid a heavy price for it.

The previous BN state government attempted to impose the 'legality' on the temple issue with an iron fist and were shown the way out by the voters. We too, at MIC paid dearly for our failure to stop certain demolitions.

However, MIC and in particular the Youth Wing have always fought when it came to temples, even if it was against our own government. T. Mohan had demonstrated before this (much to the displeasure and anger of the former MB, YAB Dato Seri Khir Toyo and the late MIC State Exco YB Dato Sivalingam) in front of the SUK in protest of temple breaking in Puchong. I was there with my Shah Alam MIC Youths fighting our own enforcement officers against the breaking of the Kg Karrupiah Temple last year.

T.Mohan in particular and the MIC Youths in general had fought against and managed to stop many temple demolitions. Not many know about these stories because 'saved' temples are not hot issues. None of the temples saved (or those demolished) had the proper papers. But fight we did.

When it comes to temples, it is not a matter of legality but rather of prudence and care. BN ignored it and was handed its heaviest electoral loss ever. Now its Pakatan's turn and they are trying spin their way out of it.

"You can fool all people some of the time
and you can fool some people all the time
but you can never fool all people all the time".


Murugesan Sinnandavar

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Free ISA Detainees

MIC Youth had a meeting with the representatives of 96 Indian based NGOs at the MIC HQ today. At the end of the meeting, MIC Youth together with the Indian NGOs called on the PM to release the Hindraf 5 and other ISA detainees who are not a threat to National Security.

This is not the first time MIC Youth or MIC leaders had called for the release of the Hindraf 5. Dato Seri S. Samy Vellu had called for their release at a meeting with MIC Division Chairmen in April 2008. Of course that call was scorned upon by Hindraf supporters and UMNO leaders alike. Uncle Sam was mercilessly hit both ways for the call.

MIC Youth had also made a similar call during our Election Post-mortem Session in Penang around the same time. That too had its critics.

I know this call will once again be viewed with scepticism but we are putting all that aside and will concentrate on the job at hand. Although Hindraf is highly critical of MIC and supports Pakatan Rakyat, MIC will continue to work to secure their release. It is only the right thing to do.

At times we have to make the call openly and sometimes we have to work within the system.

Yesterday YBhg Dato Seri S. Samy Vellu and YB Dato Dr. Subramaniam once again met the PM to call for the review of the detention of Hindraf 5. Hopefully, with their internal pressure together with the open call by MIC Youth and Indian NGOs, something good will come out of it before Deepavali.

I know that MIC will still be criticized by the very people whose release we are working to secure but for us that is a secondary issue. The detention of any human being without trial is inhumane and is against basic human rights. ISA was enacted to deal with armed terrorist and not with people that you strongly disagree with.

On a personal note, I would also like to call for the release of Raja Petra and all other ISA detainees that had not resorted to violence or arms to achieve their political aim. Charge them for sedition or under any other law but don't deny them their day in court!

Malaysian Indians should stop questioning each others' motive and concentrate on securing the release of ISA detainees.

In the case of YB Teresa Kok, all Chinese organizations and political parties put aside their differences and were unanimous in their call for her release. DAP didn't question MCA or Gerakan's call for her release and vice versa.

Why should Indians bicker about who is having what agenda while the detainees rot in prison?

Lets get them out of Kamunting first!

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chill Down Our Spine

I wrote an article this July calling for the repeal of ISA. In it I noted that:

"We have a vast array of legislation that provides adequate legal frame work to deal with threats against national security. However, the executive have repeatedly chosen the easy path of invoking the ISA that deprives a man his day in court and send chills of fear down the spine of its citizens."

Well, the executive had once again sent chills of fear down our spine by arresting controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, DAP MP and Selangor exco Teresa Kok as well as Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under ISA last Friday.

The chill down our spine is not due to fear as to who will be next but more as to where our country is heading.

One wonders who is really in charge and calling the shots. Why do we need to arrest a journalist under ISA for reporting what she saw and heard?

Shouldn't the police be taking action against the source instead of the person reporting it? Arrested for her own safety? Come on, its like putting a potential rape victim in prison for her own safety. If at all the authorities have information that the journalist's life is under threat, shouldn't they be taking action against the party posing the threat instead of the victim? Thank God they have released Tan Hoon Cheng. In any event, there goes Tan's vote and the votes of her extended family, friends and well-wishers.

I just hope the authorities complete their investigations against Raja Petra and Teresa Kok on an urgent basis and release them as soon as possible. Enough damage is done to the country's standing internationally by once again invoking the ISA.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to go to the ground and tell people that BN is a better choice when authorities use ISA against journalist and politicians. ISA was passed to deal with terrorist, not with people that you can't stand.

I salute Zaid Ibrahim for having the moral courage to stand up and walk the talk. The PM did the wise thing in not accepting Zaid Ibrahim's resignation. BN will lose further credibility if courageous individuals such as Zaid Ibrahim were to leave the government.

BN can ill afford to allow more actions that will further alienate the very people it seeks to serve and protect.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BN's Missed Opportunity

We have only five more days for September 16. The build-up and anticipation of September 16 has some what died down since last week.

It could be partially due to the absence of the 'target group', namely BN Backbenchers, from the country (according to BN, they are away on a 'study tour' to Taiwan). It could also be due to the realization of many that September 16 is just another one of Anwar 's political gimmick.

I feel BN had lost a golden opportunity to expose Anwar's lie by sending away the backbenchers for a study tour smack in the middle of the purported cross-over date. If BN is confident that September 16 will not take place, they should just postpone the trip to another suitable period. It is not as if the trip is a 'must do item' on this year's calender. Even the initial country to be visited had been changed from China to Taiwan.

Now, Anwar has another excuse to give for not delivering on his promise. He will just set another date and will leave everyone in suspense yet again.

What surprises me in all this is the silence by NGOs, human right groups and organizations purporting to promote democracy over Anwar's political manoeuvring . Just imagine the uproar if BN had announced that it is planning to take over some of the opposition held states by cross-over of PR ADUNs? BN will be accused of not respecting the will of the people and is trying to undo the results of Election 2008. Isn't Anwar's attempt amount to the same thing?

Yes, BN took a beating and were dealt a severe blow in GE 2008 but win the election it did. BN was returned to power, albeit with lesser majority, by the people. Everyone should respect that. Why is
Anwar an exception?

I remember when Al Gore and George W. Bush contested for the American Presidency in 2000. Al Gore had more votes but George W. Bush had more electoral delegates. It is the electoral delegates that vote for the President of United States. There were also suits pending in respect of disputed votes. However, once it was clear that George W.Bush had the majority of electoral delegates by the slimmest majority, Al Gore conceded defeat and George W.Bush was sworn in as President. No one challenged his authority to rule despite winning by the narrowest of margin. That is democracy.

If it all Anwar has the required number of MPs, he should just get on with it. Instead, he is playing cat and mouse with the future of the country.

BN should just confront him and call his bluff. That is why I feel that BN had missed yet another opportunity to expose him. Besides, if indeed there is a risk of some BN MPs crossing over, how long can BN prevent it? We can't keep sending them overseas forever can we?

Sooner or later people will know who is telling the truth. It is just sad that in the meantime the country is left anxious about its future.

Murugesan Sinnandavar

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pendatang Asing?

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your comments and views. I have published all comments, except for those that do not carry a name or pseudonym. One comment was not published as it was a reproduction of an article published elsewhere. I value all comments, both in support and against. However, I have removed the chat-box as it is being abused to post lengthy comments and defamatory remarks.

As for Thefirewithin, I will try to write more often and keep it short. What to do, the nature of my profession as a lawyer had conditioned me to write lengthy 'submissions' and to cover all angels. Thefirewithin, if you had read my previous post, I don't think BN, UMNO, MIC or for that matter DSSV would be too happy about it. I pen my thoughts with my conscience, decorum and law as my guide. Thanks for enquiring about my arm; it was my right foot actually. Nice of you to enquire, really.

Now, on with our business.

It was brought to my attention the following paragraph from a Form Four Textbook, "Sejarah Tingkatan 4 (Edisi 2007) - Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka" under the heading "Kemasukan Buruh dari India", at page 255:

"Ringkasnya, kemajuan dan kemakmuran Tanah Melayu telah berjaya menarik minat imigran untuk datang ke sini dan keadaan ini berterusan hingga kini. Kita seharusnya berbangga dengan negara kita yang menjadi tumpuan pendatang asing kerana kekayaan dan kemakmurannya. Di satu sudut yang lain pula, masyarakat tempatan seharusnya lebih giat, berinisiatif dan bersedia mengusahakan sendiri kekayaan negara, terutamanya bagi mereka yang tidak bermodal besar. Jika tidak, orang asing yang sentiasa mengintai peluang untuk mengambil ruang tersebut, akan mengambil alih peranan kita, seperti yang berlaku pada hari ini."

Who are the "pendatang asing" they are referring to? If the Chinese and Indians are still referred to as the "pendatang asing", even after 51 years of "Merdeka", where does that leave us as a nation? What has become of our National Integration if our text-book refer to the Chinese and Indians as "pendatang asing"?
Remember the uproar that was caused a decade ago when Lee Kim Sai (if I am not mistaken) of MCA said that if Chinese and Indians are "pendatang", then historically Malays are also "pendatang"?

The above mentioned textbook was written from a point of view of a Malay, not Malaysian. How can we ever dream of becoming One Nation if our history is written with such myopic view?

I had highlighted this issue to the press during the press conference held in conjunction with the opening ceremony of MIC Youth's new office. I am not sure how many newspapers will carry this story but as of now I was informed that Sin Chew Daily will carry it. Probably the Tamil Dailies will too.

In any event, this issue, together with the Teluk Panglima Garang teacher's issue will be some of the matters that will be raised at the next BN Education Bureau meeting.

Before I sign off, my apologies if I write infrequently. However, I will not write unless I have some undiscovered facts or a fresh point of view to share. At times the nature of my profession is such that it throws up sudden and urgent work.

Have a good weekend. I am off to Pangkor with my division youths for a short break. God bless Malaysia.

Murugesan Sinnandavar