Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1Malaysia is still 1Dream too far away

On August 28, a group of residents from Section 23, Shah Alam and several others from Malay NGOs protested against the relocation of a Hindu temple to their area by carrying a severed bloodied cow head to the State Secretariat building. And as we all know, the cow is considered sacred in the Hindu religion and the protesters have certainly crossed the line.

Malaysiakini reported that about 50 residential committee members were involved in Friday's protest after the Muslim Friday prayers. The protesters brought banners criticizing the Selangor State government, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, State Welfare Exco Rodziah Ismail, State Health Exco Dr A Xavier Jayakumar and Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad [source].

Section 23 Resident's Association chairman, Mahyuddin Manaf said that the group is against the relocation of the Sri Maha Mariaman Temple 300 meters to their area because 80% of residents there are Muslims.

It was understood that the Sri Maha Mariaman Temple had to be relocated 300 meters from its original site because it was too close to a surau. But that apparently was not enough for the protesters who claim that Hindus in Section 23 are only the minority and the relocation of their temple is unjustified.

The Sri Maha Mariaman Temple was first built for Hindu residents of Section 19, 20 and 23 Shah Alam - not just Section 23 alone.

However, Mahyuddin Manaf denied that he had knowledge of any prior intentions by the protesters to carry the cow head to the State Secretariat and also expressed his 'shock' over the incident. He went on the say that perhaps, the cow head was not intended to insult Hindus as the animal represents stupidity in the Malay culture.

Even if they truly meant to mock the state government, Mahyuddin Manaf and his people are clearly ignorant enough to not know that the cow is a sacred animal in the Hindu religion. What do the protesters intend to achieve by carrying a bloodied cow head around?

The Friday protest is an exposé of the ugly side of society where religious bigotry and the lack of mutual respect for other communities seem lacking. Banners were also seen labelling Rodziah Ismail and Khalid Samad as "traitors of the Malay race". Such bigots have shown they cannot differentiate race and religion.

What further disturbs me is the very reason the protesters used to justify their demonstration. They believe that the Hindu Temple should not be relocated to their area because the Hindu residents of Section 23 only make up a small minority.

But just what do they mean by that? Are minorities not entitled to the same rights as of those in the majority? I would like to remind the protesters of Article 11(3b) of the Federal Constitution which states that "Every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes."

Even if there are only 10 Hindus in Section 23, they too have equal rights to have their own place of worship as the Muslims do. Nothing is questioned when mosques and suraus are built in non-Muslim majority areas. So how is this case any different?

It is already enough for non-Muslims to follow building guidelines set by the National Fatwa Council for Islamic Affairs, which I believe are both narrow minded and unconstitutional, to dictate how to build places of worship. You may refer to my post on the issue of religious freedom in Malaysia [click here].

It is imperative that citizens of this country learn to have mutual respect and acceptance of different religions other than their own. Khalid Samad and Rodziah Ismail have performed well in their duties as politicians for all Malaysian despite being Muslim themselves. I commend them for that. It is people like Mahyuddin Manaf and his band of protesters that paint a bad image for other Muslims in the country.

The protesters from Section 23 of this dogmatist cause warned Khalid Samad and Rodziah Ismail "not to play with fire". But in fact, the very people who are playing with fire are those who stoke racial and religious hostility among Malaysians.

Home minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has issued a warning to those who create racial tension. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has demanded action to be taken on the protesters. The police have also said that the August 28 protest will be investigated under the Sedition Act. But talk is cheap. We will need to wait and see if the authorities would really walk their talk in the spirit of 1Malaysia.



2 comments :

  1. siewkwan said...

    They really have gone overboard, and yes, we're really far away from 1Malaysia. But will 1Malaysia actually be achieved, having all these nonsense happening in our beloved country?

  2. vasantarao appalasamy said...

    Sin by sin done by some Muslims towards Hindus in Malaysia!

    I believe that no religion in this world teach human to do bad! But what's the problem?

    It’s politic! The politicians playing racial cards for their own agendas, and the people fall into their trap!

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