Compiled by A. LETCHUMANAN, LISA GOH AND SYLVIA LOOI , The Star 17/05/06
STATUES in two Hindu temples were set on fire and an attempt was made to burn a third temple in Batu Putih, Kulim, late on Sunday night and in the wee hours of Monday, Tamil Nesan reported.
In the first incident, a passing motorcyclist spotted flames at the 60-year-old Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple at about 9.30pm. He alerted nearby residents who extinguished the fire.
There was no damage to the statues but the clothing that covered the idols was burnt. The temple organised a fire-walking ceremony each year, said temple chairman K. Partiban.
The paper said that at about 1.20am, residents heard about another fire at the Sivasakthi Muneeswarar Temple, about 1km away, and rushed to the site to save several statues and temple items.
Residents in the area claimed they later saw someone behaving suspiciously but he sped off when they approached him. The residents found a container of diesel and old clothes at the site where they saw the stranger.
Police reports have been made on the incidents.
On another issue, Tamil Nesan said the Negri Sembilan Government would look into problems raised by the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW).
The paper quoted state executive councillor Datuk T. Rajagopalu as assuring the union that Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had directed him to look into the affairs of the plantation workers in the state.
Speaking at the NUPW’s 60th anniversary celebrations on Sunday, he said: “I have visited several estates to find out from both the workers and the management about problems such as housing and utilities, like water and electricity.”
He said the state government was firm on its stand that local workers should be given priority over foreigners.
Malaysia Nanban reported that the Malaysian Tamil Protection Council has criticised the use of the Tamil language by a female presenter in the first round of a talent contest on Astro’s Vannavil channel.
Council chairman Datuk M.G. Pandithan said the station should recruit a person who could speak Tamil fluently.