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Shah Alam Temple: Arrest and prosecute Hishammuddin for his provocative press conference statement

Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, September 05 @ 11:32:02 CDT

National: Politics
Lim Kit Siang, Sep 05 2009
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday reminded Muslims to avoid condemning or insulting other religions and the followers in their actions, but instead follow true Islamic teachings by respecting other religions. Najib should first direct this advice and reminder to Umno Ministers and leaders at all levels as they have proved to be the greatest threats to inter-religious goodwill, harmony and understanding particularly in the five months of Najib’s premiership.

To set a good example that the Najib administration does not condone or countenance Umno Ministers or leaders setting the bad example of offending other religions and their followers, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should be arrested and prosecuted for his provocative press conference defending the cowhead sacrilege on 28th August which marred the 52nd National Day celebrations three days later. The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has directed independent news portal Malaysiakini to remove the video footages of Hishammuddin’s media conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege for being “provocative” which contain “offensive contents with the intent to annoy any person especially Indians” and liable to offences under Section 211/233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 with a penalty on conviction to a fine up to RM50,000 or a jail sentence.

The other video footage MCMC wanted Malaysiakini to remove was on the cow-head demonstration and sacrilege in Section 23 of Shah Alam. If a video footage carrying Hishammuddin’s media conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege is liable to a criminal offence for being provocative and offensive to other religions, isn’t Hishammuddin even more guilty of such an offence and before any action is contemplated against Malaysiakini, action should have been taken against Hishamuddin first? Would Hishammuddin be arrested and prosecuted for his utter insensitivity in defending and justifying the cow-head demonstration and sacrilege before any other action is contemplated against the media for reporting Hishammuddin’s press conference? The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail has ordered the police to investigate further into the cow-head sacrilege. Will the police extend such an investigation to include Hishammuddin’s offensive and insensitive press conference? Although Hishammuddin later backtracked from his press conference stance defending the Shah Alam protestors, his subsequent statement that the police should proceed with investigations and to bring to court those who brought the severed cow-head in the protest, Hishammuddin’s change of stance is only relevant as a plea for mitigation and cannot be a defence to the offence for which MCMC is acting against Malaysiakini. If Hishammuddin has committed an offence, would the Attorney-General decide whether the Home Minister should be prosecuted and would the police arrest the Home Minister, especially as the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan has just got another renewal as IGP for another year on Hishammuddin’s recommendation despite strong and the most legitimate grounds of opposition? Malaysians and the world are shaking their heads in disbelief at the depth that institutional good governance has sunk to with the country reaching the lowest level of public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of the key national institutions in the country. The MCMC warning to Malaysiakini to remove the two provocative videos, one on the offensive and insensitive cow-head protest and sacrilege and the other on Hishamuddin’s press conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege, remind Malaysians of the previous outrage when Sin Chew reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was detained under the Internal Security Act in September 2008 for reporting the offensive and provocative speech of Umno Bukit Bendera division chairman Ahmad Ismail on the Chinese in Malaysia as “penumpang” while Ahmad Ismail got away completely scot-free for his offensive and provocative remarks! Is Malaysia changing for the better or getting worse?*******Selangor Defers Temple Relocation     -->
SHAH ALAM, Sept 5 (Bernama) -- The Selangor government has temporarily deferred the relocation of the Maha Mariamman temple from Section 19 to Section 23.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim made the announcement after a dialogue with Section 23 residents which turned rowdy as some of those present were adamant on voicing out their stand.

Speaking at a news conference after the dialogue, Abdul Khalid said, the decision was made after taking into consideration the views and feelings of the people in the area.

The Menteri Besar however said that the relocation of the Section 19 temple would have to be resolved as the problem had been going on for nearly 20 years.

"This is not easy. The next step is to discuss with PKNS (Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor) and the Section 19 temple committee on the suitable site to relocate the temple. We should resolve this as soon as possible as it can create issues among the residents," he said.

Also present at the dialogue were executive councillor Rodziah Ismail, Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Abdul Samad, Shah Alam Mayor Mazalan Md Noor and PKNS general manager Othman Omar.

During the dialogue, Abdul Khalid told the residents that the state government had not made any decision on the temple's relocation.

"We are open to any suggestion... we can implement the suggestion if both sides agree to it," he said.

From now on, there would no longer be any discussion on the relocation of the temple, Abdul Khalid said amid the chaotic dialogue when a representative of 48 Indian residents raised up the issue of tolerance among the community to the call of Azan five times a day.

The resident said that the feelings of the Indian community were hurt by the issue as there was nowhere else they could build a temple because in Shah Alam, a majority of the people were Malays.

Officers of the Shah Alam City Council, who were on duty at the dialogue, however, managed to calm the situation.

Mazalan said the temple committee could not agree to a site in Section 22 proposed by the previous administration as it was located 6km from the original site and that there was no residential area nearby.

The site in Section 22 was also located outside Section 19, 20 and 23 and would not be able to cater to the needs of the Indian community in those areas, he said.

Abdul Khalid said the government took note of the views of the Malay community who objected to the presence of a temple next to their area, and the Hindu community's requirement to have a place of worship not far from their place.

He also said that he did not want to see the issue to affect the harmony among the people.

Police arrest Uthayakumar, 15 others in aborted candlelight vigil UPDATED By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Uthayakumar (being carried) and several others have been arrested while trying to make their way to a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — Police have arrested 16 people including Human Rights Party leader P. Uthayakumar as they were attempting to march from Masjed Jamek to Dataran Merdeka here tonight for a candlelight vigil protesting last week’s cow-head demonstration by Section 23 residents in Shah Alam. Authorities had closed off access to the square to prevent the group of about 50 demonstrators from carrying out the vigil. The group first gathered near Central Market at about 7.30 pm and made their way towards the Masjid Jamek LRT station where they started lighting candles and distributing placards to supporters. The placards read “Threat and insulting the religion of others is condoned by the government, where is justice?” and “Umno must repent”. The group’s message echoed those of Pakatan Rakyat leaders, who believe the racially charged cow- head protest was instigated by Umno, the dominant party in the ruling Barisan Nasional. As they marched towards Dataran Merdeka, Uthayakumar and Hindraf coordinator S. Jayathas led the march with songs as others followed them. The singing didn’t last long as police soon moved in to detain the protesters, among them Uthayakumar’s fiancée S. Indradevi, despite the group heeding police orders to disperse and leave the area. Also arrested were Hindraf leader and Uthayakumar’s brother P. Waytha Moorthy’s wife and sister. Uthayakumar, who recently returned from medical treatment abroad, was seen manhandled by the police despite not resisting while his fiancée was roughly pushed and dragged into the police truck. All 16 were later taken to the Dang Wangi police station to have their statement taken. In a statement from his London base, Waytha Moorthy said he was appalled by the arrests, saying it was a deliberate and calculated attempt to target the main leaders of Hindraf so that the planned candle vigil would be foiled. “Those vigil participants were going with candles and roses when they were arrested. PM Najib’s 1 Malaysia is a shame to all democracy-loving Malaysians. “It is ridiculous that the Muslim extremist cow head protesters – with blood still dripping from the head – who behaved in violent manner, delivered fiery speeches promoting racial hatred and insulted Hindus were given full police protection whilst Hindraf supporters who were armed with unlit candles and roses were violently arrested, bundled and taken into police lock ups,” said Waytha Moorthy who lives in self-exile. He branded the government and police as fascists who did not have any respect for the Federal Constitution, which provides for freedom of assembly, equality and freedom of religion. In last week’s protest in Shah Alam, around 50 residents from Section 23 marched towards the Selangor state secretariat building after Friday prayers to protest the planned relocation of a Hindu temple to their housing area. The protesters brandished a severed cow’s head during the protest, which was observed by the police. No arrests were made then or since. Today, Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced the relocation will now be temporarily put on hold, following an abortive Shah Alam town hall meeting called this morning to discuss the growing controversy.*******Muslim sensitivities’ an excuse for blatant racism?
Analysis by Syed Jaymal Zahiid
“Muslim sensitivity’ or outright racism? Residents from Section 23 clash during today’s town hall meet. — Picture by Jack Ooi
SHAH ALAM, September 5 — “Muslim sensitivities” was used by the Malay residents of Section 23 as the central reason to reject the Hindu temple relocation, but when some were asked today what these “sensitivities” really were, none of them could give a straight answer. Yet Malay residents of Section 23 said they felt their religion, Islam, had been profoundly threatened by the temple relocation proposal by the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government. It prompted them to take to the streets with a cow’s head recently to defend their religion; it drove them to discard civic consciousness and adopt extreme measures, to go as far as insulting another religion, knowing full well such action could lead to physical confrontations. “It would disrupt traffic flow,” said one female resident of Section 23 when asked what exactly these Muslim sensitivities are. The female resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was one of the army of residents that attended a dialogue session held by the Selangor government this morning. It was organised to resolve the deadlock but sadly, the event was fruitless after it transformed into a free-for-all verbal assault session, when the residents turned rowdy and began insulting Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and other PR leaders. Residents threw racial insults towards the leaders. They rejected any alternative proposals even before the leaders had managed to raise them. Some accused the leaders of insulting Islam if they were to go on with the relocation. “We don’t like the smells. It would be noisy and the temples would usually get bigger so we just don’t want it to be near our homes,” said another resident, Roshan, 42, on why he was against the temple being built there. When suggested that Malays in other parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have no problems with Hindu temples being built near their houses, even when these areas are predominantly Malays, Roshan rebutted gushingly. “I am from the May 13 generation,” he said, referring to the infamous racial riots four decades ago. “(Malays in these areas are fine because) the land there is limited,” he said. Throughout the “dialogue”, residents insisted their rejection of the temple relocation had nothing to do with racism and that they were not extremists. They boasted of their harmonious ties with their Indian counterparts but blame the temple relocation proposal and its proposer, the PR government, as the cause of the strained interracial bond. The temple, originally located in Section 19, had been proposed to be relocated after an agreement with the city council and other relevant authorities, to Section 23, some 300 meters from the residential area after residents in Section 19 complained. But many Malay Section 23 residents will have none of it. For them, building a Hindu temple in the midst of an industrial area to provide their Indian counterparts, which make up about 10 per cent of the Section 23 population, the right to practice their religion is a threat to the sanctity of Islam. Notwithstanding, almost all the replies given by residents when interviewed by The Malaysian Insider cited traffic congestion as the main reason behind their rejection of the temple relocation. They failed to define how a Hindu temple built some 300 metres away from their houses was insensitive towards Islam but one cannot but feel that as the fiasco goes on, more and more of these Muslim sensitivities will be raised in their arguments. Syed Jaymal Zahiid is a reporter with The Malaysian Insider, who covered this morning’s chaotic town hall meeting******



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