Saturday, September 05, 2009

What happen today at the MBSA hall lead me to write this blog. I am sad, I am sad that Malays that i know that are so tolerant have indulge in chauvinism( I will not use racism here as to me it mean a different thing) and give vein to their prejudices.

It is what our Bapak Merdeka has forewarned. He has earlier said that the Malays must be taught to walk before they can run. It is the belief of our founding fathers have excluding Aziz Ishak. The believe was economic emancipation must include the emancipation of the mind. That the Malays must be taught the ways of governing and of the world at large. Tunku believe in gradual emancipation through education but not given them trinkets as Tun did. Yes, under the Doc he has created hundreds Malay millionaire but most of them lack the social grace and etiquette that comes with it. He has created a burgeoning middle class but many of them are closeted with their minds that so warp they can't distinguish what is right or wrong, what is Islamic or not.

I held to this belief and I believe that the Malays were hurried too much that along the line they lost the Malay charm. The openness of the Malay community, the budi bahasa(the graciousness) and the spirit of giving instead of demanding. In Melaka there is a street Jalan Harmony, and on the street you can see a temple, a mosque and a church. And when these three sites were built surely they must be Muslims, Indians and Chinese living there. Yet the Malays never make noise, why now? In Penang you can see the same. In Kuala Lumpur even not far form the Jamek Mosque is an Indian temple and a Chinese one. In many major towns too they exist these sort of site,no complains. Perhaps then the British were administering or perhaps the Malays were stupid. Was it stupid or wise to be a Malay then I wonder?

Even after Merdeka we enjoy that goodwill, why now? As I said to me it was because of Doc because in his haste to provide economic parity he forget that the Malay minds need also to be equip and strengthen. To retain positive values and to disregard the negative. But then he is a Doctor not a Philosopher thus his medicine is to cure the wound but not to cure the Mind. For that we need a psychologist. Well it really is a mad mad world.

Crazy people doing crazy things dalam bulan puasa!
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Weep, Malaysia — The Malaysian Insider

SEPT 5 — Supporters of 1 Malaysia proudly proclaim that the concept signals a coming of age of the country — where tolerance of diversity graduates to acceptance of racial and religious difference.

Nobody who calls Malaysia home can argue against this noble target.


But truth be told, the fairy tale nature of the 1 Malaysia concept introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been exposed repeatedly over the past few months.

Beer issue. Concert issue. And now the infamous Umno-inspired cow-head demonstration against the relocation of the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple to Section 23 in Shah Alam.

How can we even begin to talk about acceptance of difference when even the base target of tolerance is in danger of becoming as rare as a metered taxi in Kuala Lumpur?

Just replay some of the rhetoric of the past week.

Some Muslim residents in Section 23 said they did not want a temple in their neighbourhood because they did not want the traffic congestion a place of worship would bring.

A few others said the tolling of bells and chants of worshippers would disturb their concentration during prayer time.

A non-governmental organisation argued that temples should be built in non-Muslim majority areas.

And Datuk Seri Khir Toyo — the former mentri besar of Selangor and currently Umno’s top strategist in the state — in exhibiting clear evidence that tolerance is overrated, said that there should be religious enclaves.

An enclave of churches, of temples, or mosques.

Brilliant idea from a politician who then went on to solidify his multiracial credentials by saying that protestors who dragged the cow-head did not intend to offend the Hindus, they were merely making a statement that the cow was a “stupid animal.’’

What we have witnessed in Shah Alam is not an isolated incident.

Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs all have anecdotes of how tough it is for their religious groups to obtain approvals to build places of worship.

Even when local authorities give the green light, it is usually accompanied with a buffet of onerous conditions.

What we have witnessed in Shah Alam did not happen overnight.

The lack of tolerance has been incubated by the Umno-led administration for decades.

Khir Toyo did not suddenly awake to come up with the idea of a religious enclave.

He is a product of an enclave system. His neighbours were Malay/Muslims; his schoolmates were Malay/Muslims, and his political comrades are Malay/Muslims.

Umno politicians like him know of no other Malaysia.

Malaysia for them is a country with clear lines of demarcation between Malays and non-Malays.

They are paying lip-service to Najib and his concept of 1 Malaysia because he is the prime minister and controls the levers of power.

They will play along with him but have no intention of swallowing his rhetoric of respect for all religions, of building bridges and breaking down barriers.

For Khir and his ilk, Najib unleashed unrealistic and dangerous expectations among non-Malays with his 1 Malaysia concept.

The show in Shah Alam was their way of telling the PM what they really think about his 1 Malaysia concept.

‘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

Temple relocation shelved after chaotic town hall meet

By Neville Spykerman
SHAH ALAM, Sept 5 — Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has temporarily shelved the relocation of the 150-year-old Sri Mahamariamman Temple to Section 23, following protests from some residents who hijacked what was supposed to be a civil town hall meeting this morning.
The Selangor menteri besar said the state government would look for another location to shift the temple to and would even consider suggestions from local residents for the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) to purchase private land some distance from residential homes in Section 23 for the temple.
Khalid downplayed the thuggish behaviour earlier by some residents which disrupted the meeting.
“We expected the strong reaction from some of the residents today, because of their cow head protest last week, and will not be cowed by the group.”
“The problem had been festering for over two decades and we will take it as a challenge to solve the issue,” Khalid said.
He said PKNS has an obligation to find a new site for the temple and more town hall meetings will be held, despite the ruckus today, to allow people to voice their concerns.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who faced the brunt of the criticism from residents, said the issue had been blown up because of the misinformation which had been fed to these residents.
The residents had claimed the idea to relocate the temple was cast in stone and construction had already begun because hoarding was put up around the site.
They believed the state had by-passed their concerns and felt if they did not voice their protest, the project would have gone ahead despite their objections.
However Khalid said the Selangor government only agreed for the proposal to be considered on August 5 and today’s meeting was held to seek the opinions of the residents there.
“I was hoping that the residents would have remained more calm, cool and objective.”
He said the protesters were encouraged to act as they did today by the slow action of the authorities who have yet to act against their earlier cow head protest.
“If today’s episode had happened during the previous Barisan National (BN) administration, they all would have already been arrested.”
From the word go it was clear that those who opposed the temple, many of whom were also involved in the cow head protest last week, were only interested in expressing their intolerance to the idea.
A total of 211 residents from Section 23 attended the meeting at the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) auditorium and more than one third noisily expressed their objections to the temple and refused to even listen to explanations from the mayor, representatives of the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) and the state government.
Khalid Samad also lashed out at Datuk Seri Khir Toyo for continuing to propose all temples in Shah Alam to be relocated to a cluster site in Section 18.
The previous state government had spent RM600,000 to prepare the site meant for seven temples but the idea failed to take off because the temple committees had rejected the idea.
Khalid said the previous state government had first prepared the site, then attempted to arm twist these temple committees to move.
“If I was Dr Khir, I would be ashamed to admit that I have spent so much money without solving the issue.”
Meanwhile Hindu residents of Section 23, which comprised of 48 families, said claims by the cow head protesters that they were against the temple were just not true.
Teacher M. Sekar said the community was unanimous in their support for the temple to be moved to Section 23.
“We want our rights, too,” he said. He added that were at least 28 other Chinese families who live in Section 28 who did not object.
“If they did, they would be here.”
He said many of his Muslim neighbours also did not have a problem but there are groups who are instigating the issue.
Malaysian Hindu Sangam advisor Datuk A. Vaithilingam told The Malaysian Insider they would wait to hear from the state government officially before issuing any statement about the decision to shelve the proposal to relocate the temple.
“Our only regret is that the people involved in the cow head protest, who we hear behaved like hooligans today, have yet to be arrested and charged by the police.”
He said the Hindu community is saddened by this episode and disappointed at the reluctance on the part of the police to take action.

Chaotic town hall meet produces no solution


By Neville Spykerman and Syed Jaymal Zahiid

MBSA officers step in to separate protesters as arguments become heated at the town hall meeting. — Picture by Jack Ooi

SHAH ALAM, Sept 5 — The town hall meeting called today by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to hold dialogue over the recent cow-head protest controversy descended into chaos, with around 300 residents from Section 23 jeering and mocking the meeting.

Proceedings barely got off the ground before the protesters started shouting and booing at Khalid, along with Khalid Samad (MP for Shah Alam), and Shah Alam mayor Mazalan Md Noor.

Despite calls for calm, the ruckus continued with the upset residents yelling “Penipu!” (liar!) and “Bodoh!” (stupid!) each time Khalid attempted to address them.

Tempers frayed at one point, with rowdy protesters standing on their chairs while shouting.

One Indian Section 23 resident confronted a cow-head protester, prompting MBSA enforcement officers to step in to defuse the situation.

Tensions appeared to ease after that, but the protesters started to get worked up again when Batu Tiga state assemblyman Rodziah Ismail took to the podium. The residents accused her of ignoring their views when planning the relocation of the temple, pelting her with shouts of “Tipu!”

Khalid Ibrahim has said the state government will now reconsider the location of the temple, and that the state development board (PKNS) would need to come up with an amicable solution. This did not placate the irate residents any.

The situation deteriorated further when protesters insulted an Indian attendee, telling him Indians could easily stand listening to the “azan” (Muslim call to prayers) five times daily. This triggered another round of altercations even as the mentri besar plead for calm.

Neighbours went at each other over the now-controversial relocation of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. — Picture by Jack Ooi

He asked all parties to halt arguing over the issue, saying he would seek out their views personally before making a final decision on the matter.

Proceedings kept being halted by shouting protesters, who made up one-third of the attendees. Around 40 Indian residents from Section 23, who are in favour of the temple relocating there, were also at the meeting.

With no clear outcome possible from the emotionally-charged meet, aides led the mentri besar away. The meeting ended with the situation exactly as it was, with no resolution in sight.

Last Friday, a group of 50 protesters from the Section 23 area in Shah Alam held a demonstration in front of the state secretariat building to protest the planned relocation of the 150-year-old Sri Mahamariamman Temple to Section 23 from Section 19. They brandished a severed head of a cow at the protest.

The 150-year-old temple was built on a plantation which over the years was developed into housing estates by the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS). No provisions were made to relocate the temple, which is now in the middle of a Muslim majority area.

Persoalan kuil Seksyen 19 dan tindakan Pewaris

OGOS 30 — (Artikel ini diterbitkan pertama kali pada Jan 10, 2009)

Kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) telah meninggalkan banyak perkara yang perlu diperbetulkan oleh kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) selepas kami mengambil alih. Selain dari penyelewengan dan salah guna kuasa yang menjadi bagaikan “signature” BN, terdapat juga persoalan projek-projek terbengkalai, projek-projek di lereng bukit yang tidak patut diluluskan tetapi diluluskan, penduduk rumah setinggan, kemiskinan bandar dan “lain-lain”. Di antara yang “lain-lain” itu adalah persoalan kuil-kuil yang bertaburan yang telah tidak diurus dengan baik apatah lagi bertanggung jawab oleh BN.

Kebanyakan dari kuil-kuil ini merupakan kuil yang telah dibina semasa tempat berkenaan merupakan estet getah pada tahun-tahun sebelum Malaya merdeka. Apabila estet itu diambil-alih untuk dijadikan kawasan perumahan, pada tahun-tahun selepas merdeka, pekerja-pekerja ladang dipindahkan tetapi kuil mereka dibiarkan di tempat asal. Ianya tidak dipindahkan bersama penduduknya. Akhirnya penduduk asal terus mengunjungi kuil tersebut sambil kawasan persekitaran dibangunkan. Kuil mereka juga terus dibangunkan mereka.

Kesudahannya adalah seperti apa yang terdapat di Seksyen 19, Shah Alam! Rumah-rumah yang didiami orang Melayu berhampiran dan berhadapan kuil. Keadaan ini lebih merumitkan apabila penduduk memberitahu bahawa semasa membeli rumah-rumah mereka, PKNS telah menjamin bahawa kuil berkenaan tidak akan lagi berada disitu apabila rumah mereka siap. Namun, di bawah BN, janji seperti biasa tinggal sebagai janji. Masalah ini telah wujud selama 20 tahun lebih dan apabila PR mengambil alih, kami terpaksa menyelesaikan masalah yang diwujudkan BN ini. BN hanya pandai menimbulkan masalah tetapi buntu untuk mencari penyelesaian.

Dasar kerajaan PR adalah mudah. Pertama, kuil-kuil yang lama ini perlu dipindahkan ke satu tempat yang lebih sesuai. Tempat perlu dikenal pasti oleh PBT dan semestinya dipersetujui oleh pengguna kuil berkenaan. PBT perlu mengambil kira segala permasalahan yang akan dihadapi oleh pengguna kuil hasil dari pemindahan tersebut. Sambil itu, pembinaan kuil baru, selain dari hasil perpindahan, juga dihentikan.

Pada Khamis 8hb Januari, sambil saya menghadiri mesyuarat berhubung penduduk Rimba Jaya yang telah dirobohkan rumah-rumah mereka oleh kerajaan BN (masalah yang diwarisi lagi!), saya mendapat maklumat dari seorang penduduk Melayu Seksyen 19 bahawa ada sekumpulan Melayu telah datang untuk menimbulkan ketegangan di kuil tersebut.

Selepas mesyuarat berkenaan saya bergegas ke sana dan mendapati sekumpulan orang, kebanyakan mereka orang luar, berkumpul berhampiran kuil tersebut. Mereka ingin membina “gelanggang silat” di tepi kuil dan akan mengadakan kenduri untuk merasmikan pembukaan gelanggang tersebut pada hari Sabtu 10hb ini. Untuk kenduri itu mereka akan tumbangkan 2 ekor lembu! Seterusnya mereka akan menjamu penduduk dan orang ramai di depan kuil berkenaan. Gelanggang mereka akan dibina tanpa membuat apa-apa permohonan kepada phak berkuasa kerana kata mereka, kuil tersebut juga tidak mendapat kebenaran!

Orang yang mengetuai kumpulan tersebut datangnya dari Melaka! Dia menyatakan dia “mewakili rakyat” dan tindakan ini terpaksa mereka ambil melalui persatuan NGO mereka yang bernama “Pewaris” kerana kerajaan PR masih berhoneymoon. Dia berkata penduduk sudah hilang kepercayaan kepada kerajaan dan oleh itu penduduk memanggil mereka turun. Amat jelas, soal gelanggang silat dan sebagainya hanya satu helah. Sebenarnya mereka mahu provoke pihak kuil berkenaan.

Saya menyatakan “wakil rakyat” di sini adalah saya, bukan dia (mungkin dia ingat dia masih di Melaka). Sekiranya dia ingin mewakili rakyat, dia patut turun bertanding dalam PRU yang akan datang. Saya juga memberitahunya bahawa yang “berhoneymoon” selama 50 tahun adalah BN!

Saya menjelaskan bahawa pihak kerajaan sedang menguruskan perkara ini dan kita harus diberi masa. Kalau BN tak dapat buat apa-apa dalam tempoh 20 tahun lebih, semenjak rumah-rumah mula didiami, takkanlah saya tidak boleh diberi tempoh setahun, kata saya lagi. Malahan, tambah saya, pada bulan 5 atau 6 tahun lepas, saya telah bertemu dengan penduduk di dewan Masjid Sek. 19 dan berbincang dengan mereka dan memohon tempoh setahun. Mereka telah bersetuju.

Orang Melaka ini terus menuduh bahawa PR mendiamkan diri bila orang India membina kuil-kuil baru di merata Shah Alam. Saya nyatakan tiada kuil baru dibina dan dia gelakkan saya. Saya beritahu dia, “tunjuk saya di mana kalau kamu bercakap benar!” Dia pun terus ke keretanya, minta saya ikut di belakang sambil dengan penuh keyakinan mengatakan, “mari, saya tunjuk awak”!

Maka saya mengekorinya; hai orang Melaka ini yang menganggap dirinya lebih tahu Shah Alam dari orang Shah Alam. Akhirnya dia bawa saya ke sebuah kuil di tepi landasan keretapi di Seksyen 15. Saya beritahu dia kuil itu telah ada di situ “sebelum kamu dilahirkan ke dunia ini”. Dia diam dan terus kembali ke kuil Seksyen 19.

Tidak puas hati lagi dia mencabar saya sebaik sahaja kita sampai di Seksyen 19, “awak orang Melayu, orang Islam, kenapa awak sibuk sangat nak membela kuil ini”? Saya jawab, “kerana Islam mengajar saya supaya bertindak adil terhadap semua manusia. Mereka, walaupun bukan Islam, ada hak dan Islam menuntut kita menghormati hak mereka”. Dia diam. Seterusnya dia berkata dia tak tahu sangat soal agama ini.Saya menambah lagi, “kita marah bila Israel mengasari ummat Islam di Gaza, jangan kita pula mengikut perangai Israel”.

Melihat dia mula teragak-agak saya pun menyatakan bahawa saya tahu Pewaris dan Pekida adalah NGO yang adik beradik. Penaung Pekida adalah PM maka semestinya begitu juga Pewaris. Kedua-dua NGO ini dikuasai oleh ahli UMNO. Saya tahu juga bahawa tindakan mereka ini, pada masa ini, ada hubung kait dengan PR kecil KT.

Mereka ingin menimbulkan ketegangan dan masalah kaum supaya dengan itu mereka boleh menjaja keseluruh negara bahawa PR telah gagal menyelesaikan masalah ini di Selangor; dan Selangor sekarang ada masalah perkauman. Dia diam dan selepas itu dia menegur saya kerana buruk sangka, tetapi dia tidak menafikannya.

Dengan itu saya berundur. Saya memberitahu pegawai Polis dan juga pihak penguatkuasa MBSA yang berada di sana bahawa ini tugas mereka. Mereka kena menjaga keselamatan dan keamanan. Saya difahamkan walaupun gelanggang tidak dibina, namun mereka ingin teruskan kenduri mereka. Mereka kata mereka akan menjemput saya sekali. Saya menjawab, ikut undang-undang. Kalau pembinaan gelanggang dapat kelulusan MBSA, saya datang.

Kalau tidak, program Aman Palestine di stadium Melawati pada 10hb jam 10 pagi adalah tempat yang lebih afdal bagi saya untuk hadir, begitu juga dia!

WalLahu ‘Alam. —

* Artikel ini diterbitkan pertama kali pada Jan 10, 2009.


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