Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Hishammuddin has trivialised issue

THE Malaysian Bar is disappointed with Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein‘s response to the demonstration outside the Selangor secretariat building on 28 Aug 2009. By not denouncing the offensive actions of some of the demonstrators and instead accepting their weak explanation, he has trivialised the seriousness of the incident.

It is also disquieting that a number of federal government leaders have made irresponsible statements — including blaming the Selangor government — that have politicised and exacerbated the situation while not addressing the issues at hand.

The fact that this is a Muslim-majority area is immaterial and should not, in and of itself, be permitted to serve as an adequate basis for rejecting the establishment of a place of worship for any other faith.  In a uniquely multi-ethnic and multi-faith society such as ours, we must uphold the right of every group to have access to, and build, places of worship, within the parameters provided in the federal constitution.

The Malaysian Bar firmly believes that individuals must be allowed to legitimately exercise their rights to assemble peaceably and to express their viewpoints, including dissenting opinions. However, we do not condone any acts that disrespect, insult, or incite intolerance towards others and their beliefs. We regret that a small group of individuals engaged in an act that, in the public perception, was deliberately calculated to inflame sentiments, offend and show contempt. We commend all those who have spoken up to criticise that behaviour.

We have numerous examples of how our diverse and rich cultures and faiths have co-existed, and even flourished, peacefully. The location of a mosque, Hindu temple and Christian church in very close proximity in the vicinity of Pitt Street in Penang, and the presence of temples and large Buddhist statues in Muslim-majority Kelantan, are but two compelling examples.

This, then, is our cherished heritage, which we must strive to preserve.

We urge not only an attitude of openness and tolerance, but the practice of mutual respect and acceptance. The true test of a mature democracy and responsible government is how the rights of the people, including minority groups, are protected.

Ragunath Kesavan
Malaysian Bar
3 Sept 2009

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6 Responses to “Hishammuddin has trivialised issue”

  1. james au says:

    The colours of BN/Umno politicians are displayed again. Kerismuddin is Cowmuddin and now Chameleonmuddin. God gracious. If such people are allowed to run the country, I wonder if there is anything left. Disgusting!

  2. M.K. says:

    Very well written. God save Malaysia.

  3. sumitha says:

    Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple (the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia) is within walking distance of the Kampung Kling Mosque and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple on Jalan Tokong, or Temple Street in Melaka – another compelling example!

  4. Main says:

    Need to look at what will be done to the protestors, unseen by all the commentators. If comment only hurts what about the bigger what-not of announcing the marginalisation that has never occured in Malaysia, that has tarnished the image of this country. Do comparative studies bring all those theories to be heard by all the world’s populations? Or is it just another way of announcing “we don’t really know what’s going on in our ‘beloved country’?” Be smitten by the words of those who know and criticise when it matters the most and not at an unwanted time. AND this is not mere politics.

  5. Mind Your Own Faith says:

    The cow head demo is taking the spotlight away from the real problem – that Hindus are being denied the right to worship in this country. Looks to me like the Muslims in Shah Alam are very insecure in their faith. Only the insecure will prevent others from worshiping.

    Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, with a history going back at least 4,500 years. Its truisms are certainly beyond the [ignorant] protesters in Shah Alam.

  6. padman says:

    Ya, there are numerous cases of mosques, temples, churches and gurduvaras built side by side in Malaysia.This has been the no-problem scenario for many many years. I observe that problems like the cow head problem are mainly associated within new developing areas. The house owners who don’t accept the construction of a temple are actually people who have received education in [rural areas] and have found jobs in towns. These guys have lived a life all of their own without having any interaction with other races. And this is why they cannot accept anything which in their eyes is unIslamic (like temples).

    But Muslim friends of mine who have have mixed freely with non-Malay [Malaysians] have no problems with temples and churches in their neighbourhood. Every housing estate has a surau (because the govt requires plots reserved for suraus) and non-Malays in all housing estates can and have tolerated the sound of azan five times a day every day without making any noise. Why is it that Malay [Malaysians] can’t accept non-Malay places of worship located 500 meters away as is the case in Shah Alam? I thing it boils down to the education these guys have received.

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