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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tempers flare after Malaysia demolishes Hindu temple

Reuters (5/11/2007): Malaysia moved on Monday to calm a simmering row over the demolition of a Hindu temple after a top ethnic Indian minister urged his party's lawmakers to scrap a Hindu celebration as a mark of protest.

S. Samy Vellu, the Works Minister and the veteran leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party, stunned Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by calling for the boycott, only to retract the statement hours later.

Last week's demolition of a 100-year-old Hindu temple in the central state of Selangor has fanned fresh racial and religious tension in multi-racial, multi-faith Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion.

Abdullah told leaders of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) about Samy's outburst during a closed-door UMNO meeting on Monday.

"The PM told the meeting that the issue is one of the challenges he has to face," said one party supporter who attended the meeting.

The party is holding its annual assembly this week and Abdullah is under huge pressure to tackle rising racial tensions.

The Hindu celebration of Deepavali falls on Nov. 8 and it has been customary for MIC leaders to hold grand parties to mark the festival.

Last week, authorities in the Selangor capital of Shah Alam pulled down a squatter colony and demolished the Sri Maha Mariamman temple which sat in the colony.

The temple and colony were on private land and the owner wanted it back.

A standoff ensued when Hindu devotees tried to halt the demolition, resulting in 14 people being arrested. They were later released.

MIC retracts ban on Deepavali events

Malaysiakini (5/11/2007): In less than three hours today, MIC made a complete U-turn in its decision to ban all Deepavali events by the party’s elected representatives.

The ban was supposed to be as a mark of protest against the demolition of a 100-year-old temple in Shah Alam last week.

Citing an overwhelming requests by the members of the community for the ban to be overturned, MIC president S Samy Vellu said elected representatives of the party can now continue to hold open houses on Deepavali which falls on Nov 8.

“Our previous statement which mentioned the ban is now withdrawn due to request from many Hindus to have open houses,” said Samy Vellu in a subsequent statement later at about 7pm.

The first statement said the ban would involve the party’s seven members of parliament - including one full minister, three deputy ministers and three parliamentary secretaries - and all 19 state assemblypersons. Seven of the 19 state representatives are also exco members in various states. (Full report)


Umar Rentaka November 6, 2007 at 10:36 AM  

Hangat-hangat taik ayam samy vellu

Anonymous November 6, 2007 at 10:54 AM  

From the start could have just shut up and not issued any directive.

Now " foot in mouth "

It must be our Karma............

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