Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vellu brings temple demoliton issue to the fore

Vellu brings temple demolition issue to the fore


Kuala Lumpur, April 21 (IANS) Senior Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu has once again spoken out against the demolition of a Hindu temple a week before Diwali last year, saying that it caused the Indian vote to swing away from the government. Vellu Sunday blamed the then chief minister of Selangor, Mohamad Khir Toyo, for refusing to heed his plea that the Hindu temple in Padang Jawa in Shah Alam not be demolished following a long dispute between the temple management and the civic authorities.

On the day it was brought down, Vellu said he had rushed to a hotel in Shah Alam to meet prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Khir who were attending a function.

"I begged him (Dr Khir) not to demolish the temple but he refused, citing a court order. I told him that if the temple was demolished, it would mean demolishing the Barisan Nasional."

However, according to Vellu, Khir refused to listen despite the prime minister's intervention.

"Dr Khir has to take a bigger slice of the blame for Barisan Nasional's poor show in the general election," the New Straits Times quoted Vellu as saying Monday.

Vellu had last week called the incident an "atom bomb" that caused the "political tsunami" against ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, reducing its two-thirds majority support in parliament to a simple one in last month's general elections.

Vellu, a long time minister and president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), himself lost his ninth bid at re-election to parliament.

Vellu supported Badawi in the current tussle within the BN and said: "Let us stop blaming the prime minister for everything."

According to a post-poll study, 69 percent of ethnic Indian votes that traditionally went to MIC and 43 percent of ethnic Chinese vote swung in favour of the opposition, giving it an unprecedented 82 seats in parliament and control of five states.

Ethnic Chinese comprise 33 percent and Indians eight percent of Malaysia's 29 million population.

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