Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Of Hindu Festivals & Broken Promises
To all me Hindu brothers & sisters, here's wishing you all a very Happy Vinayagar Chathurthi! May you & yer family receive the blessings of Lord Ganesha.
In light of this Hindu festival, might me just take the time to urge you to read the article below (from the Malaysian Insider). Yet more broken promises by the BN administration. Why they persist in making life difficult fer us on issues such as this is just beyond me. This kind of racial/religious chauvinism is what is costing them votes. Pakatan Rakyat, please take note. Do NOT REPEAT this kinda mistakes . . .
Ban on foreign Hindu priests and temple workers still in place despite govt promise
By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 – More than three months down the road and with the government's promise to lift the ban on foreign Hindu priests and temple workers unfulfilled, the Malaysian Hindu Sangam is more than a little upset.
Its president, Datuk A. Vaithilingam yesterday issued a statement to the media to highlight what it considers a crisis of faith for the Hindu community in the country due to the lack of experienced priests and temple musicians.
"In April, it was announced that the government will lift the ban, but until today nothing has been done. That's why I made the statement," Vaithilingam told The Malaysian Insider when contacted over the phone.
He explained that he had bumped into the prime minister and the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Datuk Shafie Apdal, at a pre-Independence Day muhibbah function in the city last Saturday, and reminded them that the ban was still in place.
Abdullah responded that he would get the Home Minister to look into the issue by Wednesday.
"I presume he meant the Wednesday Cabinet meeting," Vaithilingam sniffed.
Referring to his press statement, Vaithilingam pointed out that the government had dragged out the issue for far too long.
Despite the dearth of experienced locals to do the job, Abdullah's Cabinet had imposed a blanket ban on all Hindu priests and temple workers from India last December, which took almost immediate effect – all applications were rejected in January this year.
Following the Hindu Sangam's pleas, the Cabinet appeared to have lifted the order in April.
"In May 2008, the Minister for National Unity said that the matter had been resolved. In releases to the press in July 2008, the Human Resources Minister was quoted as saying that priests and temple musicians would be given three-year work permits," the press statement explained.
However, it also noted that on July 17, a represenative of the Internal Security Ministry at a meeting of the Inter Religious Committee of the National Unity Advisory Panel made an instructive comment.
"It appears that there is a perception that the Hindraf movement was supported by foreign priests! As President of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, I was present at that meeting and corrected this misconception. As I will explain later, Hindu temple priests are too
busy in their work to be able to take part in any political activity."
Vaithilingam had thought he had hammered home the point to the prime minister in his keynote address at the 25th anniversary dinner of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) on Aug 6.
Judging from the prime minister's reply last Saturday, Vaithilingam had thought wrong.
Asked if he did not think he was being inordinately hasty in publicly rebuking the government one day ahead of Abdullah's Wednesday deadline, Vaithilingam said: "I don't know.
The ball is in the prime minister's court."
ps: Would like to hear from you on what can be done to circumvent this problem.