Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hindu Sangam to Khir: What about us?

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) is the rightful body for the Selangor state government to consult in regards to Hindu temples, said its deputy president Thiagaraja Ratnasamy today.

Thiagaraja was responding to news reports that Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had a meeting “700 temple representatives” to discuss the controversial state demolition of temples.

Formed in 1965, MHS is the biggest Hindu temple umbrella group in the country and had a track record of handling such issues, said Thiagaraja.

This includes liaising with the late K Sivalingam who was a Selangor state exco member in charge of non-Muslim affairs and drawing guidelines for Kuala Lumpur City Hall regarding demolition of temples.

“Before the Menteri Besar implements any guidelines in Selangor, he must first have an actual and meaningful dialogue with the actual representatives of temples.

“With 1,802 temples nationwide as members of the MHS, it would appear that we are best placed to assist the state government in this,” said Thiagaraja in a statement today.

Politically motivated?

MHS’ role as an umbrella body for Hindu organisations looks shaken with the establishment of the Malaysian Hindu Council (MHC) and its influence on Hindu temple affairs.

MHC is headed by Jalan Bandar Maha Mariamman temple and Batu Caves temple president R Nadarajah. Nadarajah is a notable businessman who is also known for his close links with MIC president S Samy Vellu.

The meeting with the temple representatives was facilitated by the MHC yesterday, where Khir announced that the state government would not demolish any Hindu temples over the next six months.

During that time frame, the temple committees within Selangor have to form a self-regulatory body to deal directly with the state government on erecting, demolishing and relocating temples.

Observers note that the move by MHS and Khir to set up the committee was likely to drum up support for the Barisan Nasional in the upcoming general election.

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