“They should have listened to the residents first. It would not have come to this if they had a dialogue with them about the relocation.”
HOME Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, blaming Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat-led government for the 28 Aug 2009 cow-head protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple in Section 23, Shah Alam. Hishammuddin said this after meeting with the cow-head protesters in his office on 2 Sept 2009.
He also defended the protesters for expressing their dissatisfaction to the state government. But the state’s attempt to hold a dialogue with affected residents three days later on 5 Sept was derailed by Malay Muslim residents who turned aggressive and resorted to name-calling and insulting the state leaders. (Source: Hishammuddin blames state for protest, New Straits Times, 3 Sept 2009)
“And seeing the picture of them sitting next to the (home) minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) was indeed shocking.”
Hindu Sangam adviser Datuk A Vaithilingam, refuting Hishammuddin‘s claim that Hindu Sangam and the Section 23, Shah Alam residents had met after the protest, and would be meeting again. Vaithilingam said the organisation was willing to meet with Section 23 residents, but not specifically with the protesters who had insulted Hinduism. (Source: Hindu Sangam ready to meet residents, not protesters, Malaysiakini, 4 Sept 2009)
“The state government did not think… the cow’s head was displayed because it is a ‘stupid’ animal, to show that the state government made a ‘stupid’ decision, and disrupted the peace of Section 23 residents. [It has] nothing to do with religious issues.”
Former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo at a press conference with Section 23 residents’ association committee members by his side, on 4 Sept 2009. He said the protesters had no intention of belittling Hinduism, which holds the cow as sacred. (Source: Khir Toyo defends protesters over ‘stupid’ cow, Malaysiakini, 4 Sept 2009).
The next day, MIC Youth social and charity bureau head S Subramaniam lodged a police report against Mohd Khir for calling the cow “stupid” and said it showed his insensitivity towards other religions.
“Where else in the country has a state government spent so much money for places of worship of other religions? … BN and Umno have no objections to temples being built so long as they are in conducive sites.”
Mohd Khir on his plan while he was Selangor menteri besar for a centralised religious enclave in Section 18 to relocate Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras throughout Shah Alam. The state government under his administration spent RM600,000 on infrastructure like paved roads and parking lots for devotees.
But while Umno leaders accuse the present PR state government of failing to consult with residents on the temple relocation, Mohd Khir admitted that his plan for the enclave was rejected by Hindus — this after spending all that money on infrastructure. Section 19 temple treasurer T Sugumaran said the enclave was a ludicrous idea and was done without consultation. (Source: Khir says his temple enclave would have prevented row, Malaysian Insider, 4 Sept 2009)
“We can observe that the people are starting to question the decisions made by several opposition-led states and their credibility in handling certain local issues.“
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak‘s answer to reporters’ questions on the rowdiness of residents which disrupted the 5 Sept town hall dialogue, organised by the Selangor government, to discuss the temple relocation. (Source: People starting to question Pakatan’s decisions, The Star, 7 Sept 2009)
“The way to manage our differences is not by creating enclaves whereby Malaysians will be segregated and separated from one another, but through understanding and respect …
If the authorities accepted the objection to it by certain quarters, the social dynamics of Malaysian life would be affected and the consequence on national integration would be very serious indeed …
We must not subscribe to the view of thinking about Malaysians as majorities and minorities, and majorities versus minorities.”
Excerpts from a 7 Sept 2009 press statement by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST). The MCCBCHST noted that the contested site in Section 23 chosen by the state government to relocate the Section 19 temple complied with local government conditions, and was also over 300m away from housing areas, which was more than the 50m requirement. (Source: One rule for all, please, The Nut Graph, 8 Sept 2009)
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