Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has called on Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon to set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the demolition of the Tou Mu Kung temple last Friday in Bukit Mertajam.
See my earlier posting Tragic religious intolerance.
Lim said that state executive councillor Dr Toh Kim Woon had met with Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) president Md Aris Ariffin, who is an unelected swill appointed by authorities, thus totally unaccountable to the rakyat (people). Dr Toh had SECURED an agreement from Md Aris that no further action will be taken until the state exco meets on Wednesday.
Yesterday, two days before the state exco met, Md Aris struck the temple, where his men REFUSED to allow the temple people remove the religious icons from the temple to be demolished. The incident became a provocative fracas that had the aggressive police firing warning shots, with the police sergeant voicing his ‘couldn’t-care-less’ attitude if any of the protestors were to be killed. Three persons were injured and six arrested
Lim said: “If this is true, then the demolition of the temple is not only high-handed but a gross breach of an undertaking by the MPSP president.”
He said an inquiry is necessary because the incident involves local government democracy and accountability and the MPSP defiance of the state exco’s pending decision.
And it’s not just the DAP who wants Koh to take action. Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Itam) said Koh needs to be more firm on this issue as he has been ‘too soft’.
Koh had earlier likened his ‘soft approach’ to the sterling qualities of AAB, whom he said has also been accused of being a weak leader, but is merely tolerant.
As I mentioned, there seemed to be more than an eager wish by the MPSP to destroy not only the temple but the Taoist sacred icons as well. I deem it as an unmitigated religious intolerance - ironically of people who in all probability had protested (at least in their hearts) against the notorious Danish caricature issue.
If they had nurtured anger and hatred in their hearts against the Europeans, that's exactly what the Taoist adherents (and many others) are doing/feeling right now.
Wee said: “The state exco must demonstrate that it will not tolerate ‘Little Napoleons’ and (act firmly by suspending) the MPSP president for openly flouting th authority of the state exco and chief minister.”
Wee reminded Koh of Port Klang assemblyperson and former Klang municipal councillor Zakaria Md Deros who operated a satay outlet on state land without a temporary occupation licence, but who was issued a 14-day eviction notice before the premises were sealed.
Wee Lim draw the contrasting treatment for the Bukit Mertajam Chinese temple: “The temple was located on its own land and yet (the operators) were not given notice. The building was demolished just like that.”
"There is a difference between demolishing something which was only in one person’s interest compared to a temple that is in a community’s interests.”
Meanwhile it has been reported that Koh TK was seen wringing his hands, which would be the sum of his likely action he dares take against the MPSP president (unless of course he receives a greeen light from UMNO HQs).