Friday, December 14, 2007

Listen to the protestors & heal the wounds

PRESS STATEMENT : Listen to the protestors & heal the wounds

The HINDRAF Rally this Sunday is a wake up call for all Malaysians.

It is clear that there are tens of thousands of disaffected Indians in Malaysia who feel the Government is not protecting their best interests.

The socio-economic disadvantages of Indians have become more pronounced in recent years, with the increased urbanisation of once rural areas and the move to cities by many children of former rubber tappers and farmers. With their diminished educational opportunities, their reduced skill sets and without the strong private sector and public sector support of the other races these Indians are an urban underclass.

Added to this is the anger felt by almost all non Muslims at the Government’s and the Court’s inaction to infringements of religious freedom by the Islamic authorities. Almost all the victims of recent incidents which have been widely publicised over the past few years have been Hindus, fuelling anger amongst the community. For example:-

 Moorthy Maniam’s widow Kaliammal was not allowed to cremate her husband as a Hindu, despite this being his professed religion, because of the Court binding their hands and defering to the Syariah court.

 A similar fate befell Chandran Dharma Dass’s family about a year later in Perak, when his body was buried according to Islamic rites at about 4 a.m. amidst heavy police presence with his family barred from even praying for his soul and despite the fact that his family maintained that he was a Hindu.

 Shamala and Subashini are pitted in unnecessary legal entanglements because the Courts are not treating their rights to bring up their children in their own religion as equal to that of their estranged husbands who converted to Islam.

 The straw that broke the camel’s back was the most recent in a spate of insensitive and arguably unconstitutional and unlawful demolitions of Hindu temples. The destruction of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Kampung Karuppiah, Shah Alam despite assurances by the Dato’ Bandar that devotees would be able to celebrate Deepavali (just a few days away from the demolition date) before having to move. The unprecedented pictures of local authority enforcement officers throwing stones at devotees and at the temple caused an uproar amongst the Indian community.

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam therefore urges the Government to take immediate, urgent and effective measures to improve the socio economic conditions of the Indians in Malaysia, as part of overall measures to ensure our nation’s resources are distributed and shared equitably amongst all Malaysians.

The Government must also act urgently to make the necessary legislative reforms so that the freedom of religion of all Malaysians are protected, and not just those professing Islam.

We call on the Courts to start acting in their role as the guardians of the fundamental liberties of minorities against oppression by the majority.

Most importantly, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam asks the authorities to take heed and listen to the grouses of these demonstrators.

Please do not let this festering wound become even worse!

Dated 27th November 2007

Datuk A. Vaithilingam PJN, SSA, AMN, ASA, PJK
Malaysia Hindu Sangam

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