Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy has blasted MIC president SA Vigneswaran after the latter issued a reminder to the Hindu community that new temples must be constructed on approved sites, as he did not wish them to risk demolition due to disputed land status.
Vigneswaran (above, left), in his policy speech at the 74th MIC Annual General Assembly yesterday, said that issues surrounding the site of Hindu temples should not continue to be a dividing factor between the Indian community and others.
He went on to say that if Hindus were not following procedures leading to structures being demolished, then they were humiliating their own Gods, a statement which did not sit well with DAP's Ramasamy.
"The statement that Hindus must be blamed for temple demolitions leading to the humiliation of their own gods is something most irresponsible and uncalled for.
"Such a statement is not keeping with facts and circumstances surrounding Hindu temple demolitions in the country over the last few decades.
"In short, it puts the blame on the victims and not on the perpetrators who have camouflaged temple demolitions under the guise of illegality," said Ramasamy in a statement today.
He added that Vigneswaran appeared to be under the mistaken notion that land is available for Indians to build temples, but they don’t follow procedures resulting in demolitions by law enforcement authorities.
"This is a complete misrepresentation of the actual truth and ignores the ground reality in this country where the construction of non-Muslim places of worship have been restricted over the years."
If fair access to state land was provided for the building of temples, then the question of illegality would not rise in the first place, he added.
"The statement by Vigneswaran will only spur racists and religious bigots to think of further demolition of non-Muslim places of worship and I suggest for him to withdraw his uncalled or unsubstantiated statement that puts the blame on the victims and not the perpetrators," said Ramasamy.
He also trained his guns on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who yesterday hailed MIC for backing his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and expressed hopes that the Indian-based party will continue to do so in the future.
Muhyiddin, who is also the Bersatu president, was invited to speak at the MIC annual general assembly amid Umno’s plan to cut ties with Bersatu and PN in the next general election, although Umno’s BN partners MIC, MCA and PBRS have yet to agree.
"Muhyiddin’s assurance to the Indian community of 'we will take care of you', is a meaningless statement.
"The community’s political representation has not only been slashed at the state and federal levels, but it has lost out in many areas.
"It is well and good to talk about shared prosperity, but it is self-evident that Indians have lost out in whatever prosperity that has been gained in the past few decades," claimed Ramasamy.
He added that the non-mutually exclusive nature of the interplay of race and religion in the interests of Malays and Muslims have excluded non-Malays particularly Indians from being beneficiaries of economic, political and social development.
“Taking care of Indians” for Muhyiddin simply means throwing bread crumbs to the community, claimed Ramasamy.
"Indians under the PN government have lost their dignity and pride and MIC is a remnant of the past, while its leaders are mere showpieces to remind Indians that they are being represented," he added.
MIC deputy president M Saravanan is serving as human resources minister in the PN administration, but the community enjoyed greater representation during the Pakatan Harapan government when M Kulasegaran, Gobind Singh Deo, P Waythamoorthy and Dr Xavier Jayakumar were ministers.