In a nation that’s supposed to be an example of multi-racial & multi-religious tolerance and moderation, as frequently self-acclaimed by our ministers, and one just coming up to its 50th anniversary of independence, one would have thought a 100-year of Hindu temple in our country would have merited national heritage listing. Instead it was demolished against the cries of appeals by Hindu devotees.
300 devotees in the midst of their prayers at the temple had to scamper out the way of bulldozers sent in by KL city authorities to smash up the century-old Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple at Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur. While devotees cried and begged the demolition team to stop, the bulldozers continued, ensuring the sacred building was reduced to rubble.
Compare this intolerant action of destruction to Buddhist Thailand’s efforts to preserve a Hindu temple right in the heart of an upmarket shopping mall at the Erawan Hotel in Bangkok. Despite Hindu being a minority religion, the Brahma temple was highly respected.
In a previous posting DBKL smashed statues of Hindu gods! I wrote about the ugly fate of a 60-year Hindu temple, where 40 DBKL personnel went to the temple armed with rotans and pulverised the temple deities into smithereens.
Naturally the Hindu devotees were distressed by the highly aggressive desecration, apart from discovering that temple jewellery went mysteriously missing after the smashup.
KTemoc commented that it's one thing to legally demolish a temple due to municipality building code requirements, but it's another to deliberately smash icons of worship with violence and seemingly deliberate insult. Such an act of unmitigated disrespect bespoke an attitude of religious intolerance and racial hatred. That action had exceeded all bounds of human decency and I among many called for the DBKL hooliganism to be resoundingly condemned.
Lawyer P Uthayakumar said desecrating a place of worship is a criminal offence and action must be taken. He pointed out that there was so much furore over the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) blasphemous caricatures, resulting in a number of (only non-UMNO-linked) newspapers suffering government imposed suspension for religious disrespect. But where was the expected equal government response to such a horrendous act of disrespectful blasphemy and religious hatred. Shouting out at the double standards, he stated:
“The recent caricature controversy which was deemed insulting a religion saw the government take serious action but now a temple has been broken into and there is pin-drop silence.”
The IGP, AG and Samy Vellu were all informed but like Uthayakumar said, there was pin-drop silence from them. Maybe the Hindu Gods had made them blind, deaf or dumb, like the 3 monkeys.
Then in a follow-up posting DBKL staff armed with WMD - Legal? I commented that DBKL enforcement squad went there in full force with WMD [weapons of malicious destruction] in the form of rotan canes, thus showing that they were hellbent on aggression, a conduct that was legally questionable and way outside their span of authority.
Unfortunately in Malaysia, under the UMNO-led government, authority staff, where police or civilian enforcement people like the DBKL, have frequently in their actions exceeded their authorised powers. No Malaysian state or federal or municipal authority should ever sanction or condone its enforcement staff wilfully smashing religious symbols of any religion of Malaysian citizens.
Yet the government has been deafeningly silent on the several cases of hurtful action against Hindus, in sheer contrast to any issue that seems disrespectful to Islam.
When you measure the DBKL act of wilful desecration against what Minister Nazri’s warned non-Mulsims, namely to butt out of the affairs of a religion they have very little understanding or belief in – see my posting Nazri: Non-Muslims Stay Clear or Else! - you cannot but help notice the Minister remaining silent over insensitive, intolerant and insulting behaviour by DBKL staff against another Malaysian religion.
I do wonder whether we, as unequal Malaysians (or whatever UMNO ministers think we non-Malay non-Muslim citizens are), ought or really have anything to be celebrating this year's Merdeka commemoration?