Malaysian Hindus and a Class Action Suit: Some Thoughts

So there is meant to be a gathering of Indians at the British High Commission this weekend.

The Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf), which had begun a class action suit against the British government in August, is a grouping of individuals whose avowed goal is to fight for the rights of Hindus in Malaysia.

 The main grievance of Hindraf (ostensibly)  is that too many Hindu temples and shrines are being demolished in Malaysia and this is in contravention with the right to one’s own religious practices enshrined in the Constitution, pardon the pun.


Authorities don’t care 

In my experience with these demolitions (seen plenty of them), the fault in this issue  lies with two parties.

No 1: Local governments that see it as another illegal structure that must be torn down because there wasn’t any permit/land conversion status dodgy and numerous other legalities.

In this case, there are sensitivities that are blatantly ignored. I’ve seen with my own eyes, bulldozers just ploughing into a temple’s inner sanctum. Readers, just imagine this scenario but replace the image of the hindu temple with a mosque/church/synagogue if you are Jewish or, any place of worship of your religious denomination. Wars have started on less provocation.

Yet this practice goes on. In Malaysia, I know for a fact that even the Indian leaders belonging to the ruling Coalition are often ignored or shouted down when they bring up such matters. Ask Samy Vellu; he’s been up there long enough to know.

The insensitivity to Hindus is rife among many Malaysians of monotheistic faiths who revile Hindus as idol worshippers, but say something equally derisive against theirs and they will be up in arms, in some cases aided by the Umno-empowered keris-wielding thuggery and beligerence.

And they say Hindraf raises sensitive issues.

You call this tolerance, harmony and Malaysia Truly Asia? Bollocks!

Temples and shrines galore? 

You see, most housing development blueprints I have seen, has some kind of mandatory provisions for the building of mosques. Such provisions are not made for churches and temples (for Hindus or Taoists). So where do they build temples? So most temples in Malaysia are illegal by default?

On the other side of the coin is of course the various hindu communities that build temples everywhere; under a tree, beside a river, in a cave, near a quarry….the list goes on.

Just because it is old doesn’t make it legal, people. Remember that. Temples and shrines sprout in the oddest of places and while communities come and go and grow, needs and demographics may change. What if a shrine stands in the way of a six-lane expressway, or a flood mitigation project? Such things need to be discussed and examined at length. Think!

Are all temples sacred places that cannot be touched? I wonder what kind of development can take place anywhere then. There are places where if you ask me, situating a temple or any human-dwelling should be discouraged, because of the environmental impact. And nature has been there long before man or religion, so who has more right to exist? Think! 

Why sue the Brits?

The parties bringing the class action suit are all Malaysians. The grievances are against the Malaysian authorities. 50 years after Merdeka, you go and sue the Brits and say they didn’t protect Hindu rights.

Some flaws here.

Firstly, the disenfranchisement of Malaysian Indians are neither confined to the Hindus  nor Indians alone.

Secondly, demolition of Hindu places of worship aren’t the only thing, nor is it the most important of the issues facing the Indian underclass in Malaysia.

Thirdly, wouldn’t it be a more practical long term approach to join the larger wave of thinking today that says something is wrong with the system? Your beef is not with the Brits, especially not after 50 years. It is with the local leadership, both ethnic and national.

The Islamisation policy that begun in the early days of Mahathir era (meant to countermand the ascension of PAS influence among Malays) has somewhat put paid to the well-meaning nation-building aims of our Constitution’s signatories.

Tun Sambanthan (remember who he is?) was quoted to have said this.

“We belong to a plural society, and we should always remember that in such a society we have to recognise that psychology has its own place. It is not enough if one’s own attitude towards a problem is good. It is necessary that he should see what reaction, what effect it would have on members of different communities.”

No political leader in Malaysia will sing that lagu today.

The way I see it, there are many, many ethnic Indians in Malaysia that are both educated and care enough to for parliamentary or state representation. So, vote out Samy and his gang, if you think he doesn’t serve a purpose anymore.

Elections aren’t fair you say? That was the reason for the Bersih march the other day. At the end of the day, the demand for a better deal has to be an effort that runs across the racial/religious boundaries.

To the organisers and sympathisers of Hindraf, I’d like to share this bit from a news report. 

Second political secretary to the British High Commissioner Dawn Houghton said they will be ready to receive the petition on Sunday.

“We are aware of their plans. Any demonstration is between Hindraf and the local authorities. There should be someone receiving the petition,” she added.

Think about this.

Also, the Malaysian police has far less regard for an Indian life. So, don’t expect Nov 10-like restraint from them here. The rules of engagement will be different. Mark my words.


9 thoughts on “Malaysian Hindus and a Class Action Suit: Some Thoughts

  1. Hi ,
    Rules of engagement will surely be different.There could be real target practice sessions. Hard to come by live targets.
    As far as regards for an indian life is concerned, NIL.
    All hell will break loose on the first order to disperse.
    They {hindraf} should have joined BERSIH rally with their 10K.
    Could have had an impact.
    So WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE MILLION Bugs?,well, its your share on the investment made by your ancestors. HaHaHa

    Go girl Go, do your thing !

    PS. Well thought out piece and balanced in contents.

  2. Hi again,

    I really meant “BUGS” thats what it is that you may get. Not , bucks, dollars ringgit etc , plain and simple “BUGS”
    Can you imagine, a million bugs crawling all over you, Niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to dream huh !

  3. The Islamisation policy that begun in the early days of Mahathir era was meant to change the work habit of civil servants by equating hard work and dillignece with Islam.

    Islamic values that is promoted are universal values with other religion and not conflicting ones. The Islamisation that came about came about from the “dakwah” fashion that cam creaping in from early 80s from outside Malaysia.

    This created demand for more Islamic sensitivities and needs … liek banking and such.

    Got to correct you on that. I know Malik Imtiaz went into parliament with that sort of argument and got cream by PAS and UMNO MPs.

    The Hindu temple issue is more complex than that. There are issues of history involving British policies, current land and local council issues, lack of understanding of teh Hindu religion, and etc.

    Good luck on Saturday and the lawsuit.

    If you win, the Malays has bigger issueus with th f**king Brit! Our demand can completely bankrupt Britain.

  4. Mr Wrong,

    So it was lofty ideals that Dr M wanted to instil. Cool.

    As for Islamic values, I have no quarrels with it at all. Remember, I grew up quite intimate with Islamic good and egalitarian values like those preached though acts of fasting, fitrah, neighbourliness and even korban.

    They were something I and a lot of other people out there could identify with.

    The Brits, I must admit, left a bloody lot of mess everywhere they went. I’ll not hold my breath on the suit though. I believe if there is to be some kind of equitable measure, we must have the collective political will to do it. Currently, we don’t.

    thnx for visiting a blog i think no one read : P

  5. I am a third generation Indian. Indians in Malaysia should use their votes wisely and send a message at each election rather than blindly following the leader and voting the “the assured safe” route which time and time again has failed. Hindraf and its members, sympathisers are free to sue the British government. But ask yourselves – How many of you are registered voters and how many of you at every eleection fall for the same sweet talk.

    Show your might with your votes. Show the bravery at the polls rather than fearing ” they can trace who we vote for”. Ijok is a clear example. Is Ijok not a lesson for each Indian. The whack the temple just before Deepavali…..

  6. Anu, join me when I win that round of tani because I betted that the gathering (of Indian friends) will NEVER vote MIC this round.

    I still smell chauvinism and charlatans pied-piping their ware in this comment box. Anachronism, I thought dead in this globalised era, is seeing a rebirth.

  7. I accept the invite, Uncle Zorro. The Hindraf rally is the death knell for conventional Indian representation in this country.

    No safe seat for MIC is safe anymore, and in a majority of places where non-Indian voters are the ones who vote in MIC cos its part of the coalition, those voters are pissed off too.

    So, consider your bet won.

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