Posts Tagged ‘MHS’

The Hindu Places of Worship Database Project

September 11th, 2009
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Its about time! We hear all kinds of figures being bandied about, and no one is really sure how many  Hindu temples there are in the country. When I checked the site earlier today, there’s 1749 temples recorded.

The Hindu Places of Worship Database Project

AUM. After 52 years of Independence, the actual number of Hindu places of worship (temples, shrines, etc) in Malaysia are not known. Different groups, from politicians to NGOs, offer different figures ranging from 10,000 to 20,000; researchers from State governments, MIC, MHS and other NGOs have undertaken data-collection projects at various times for this purpose, but there is still no composite available.

Without availability of such data, it has proven difficult to develop strategies on the future of Hindu places of worship in Malaysia, especially on matters related to the defending against demolitions of Hindu places of worship.

As such, the Temple Committee of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS), as the committee under the national Hindu body that coordinates the interests and activities of temples in the context of looking out for the needs of Hindus in Malaysia has now initiated a community-based nationwide project to collect data on Hindu places of worship in the country.

To develop a truly comprehensive database, we invite ALL Hindus in Malaysia, (including NGOs) to participate in this initiative ? all one would have to do is to visit this website: www.myhindutemples.com and complete a survey online after interviewing the person in charge at the temple that is to be included in the database. We believe that a web-based platform will be able to achieve what previous initiatives could not, particularly so due to the renewed strength many of us have gained from recent events.

This is how we seek your assistance, if you wish to volunteer :

1.      Volunteer intending to complete the survey goes to the website and places the cursor on the Temple Database tab.

2.      Placing the cursor on the tab releases a drop-down menu, from which the volunteer is to select Registration Form ? Hardcopy.

3.      This should bring the volunteer to a page where the form is available for download. Following the instructions on the page, the volunteer can download the form, print it, and visit the temple at the appropriate time to interview the person-in-charge. Considering the value of this project, it would be both practical and understandable to request a little verification on the spot for some of the information requested.

4.      Upon getting the complete details, the volunteer can then return to the computer and select the Registration Form ? Online option to key in the details online immediately. The volunteer may wish to download and read the Guide to Completing the Form before doing so.

5.      Once these details are keyed in, please give us 3 -5 working days before checking the Approved Temples Listing to confirm whether the record keyed in has accepted by the system. Get back to the website again.

6. Or you can mail us with a little information of nearby temple like Temple name & Address or contact number; so that we can contact them to get more information. Kindly mail to myhindutemples@yahoo.com

We thank you once again for your kindness, support and participation. AUM.

Hindu Sangam says…

September 4th, 2009
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The press statement on MHS website:

PRESS STATEMENT : 150 YEAR OLD SECTION 19 TEMPLE, SHAH ALAM

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam is deeply concerned that many statements have been made in the media of the proposed meeting with the protestors from the people of Section 23 and the Hindu Sangam without it being notified. It was only this morning that we were notified by a Special Officer of the Minister. No specific time and venue was mentioned.

We appreciate the efforts of the Minister of Internal Security Dato Seri Hishamuddin Bin Tun Hussein  to solve the issue which has been on for about 25 years – each time the temple has been the victim of unfair  treatment and continued humiliation.

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam welcomes the call by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor urging the Menteri  Besar of Selangor to solve the matter quickly. We are confident that the Sultan of Selangor will see that justice is done to all his subjects. As  this is a State matter the Selangor Menteri Besar should meet the Hindu Sangam and Temple leaders immediately.

Therefore, we including the Section 19 temple leaders are willing to cooperate with both the Federal and State Governments to solve the issue by negotiation. In the meantime we are hoping that the Prime Minister, will meet us soon to resolve the long pending issues. We realize that this 25 year old issue cannot be resolved in one day. We know that patience, understanding and feeling of harmony are the only path towards success.

RS.Mohan Shan
President

The following appeared in Malaysiakini:

The Hindu Sangam is willing to meet residents of Shah Alam’s Section 23 but not the protestors to thrash out matters surrounding the relocation of a 150-year-old temple to their neighbourhood. A. Vaithilingam, advisor to the religion’s national umbrella body said this after an hour-long meeting at the secretariat today with state exco Dr Xavier Jeyakumar and the menteri besar’s political secretary Nik Nazi Nik Ahmad over the ‘cow head’ protest as well as the temple relocation.

We don’t mind meeting any (one), but not to go and meet the protesters, especially the ones who have insulted the religion (by) carrying the cow’s head.

And seeing the picture of them sitting next to the (Home) minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) was indeed shocking,” said Vaithilingam (right), adding that he is, however, “happy that the minister said the police will be taking action”.

Though the minister has said that the police will take action against them, he cannot see himself shaking hands with the protestors. “They have not even apologised and said anything different.

Directly or indirectly they touched on a racial and religious issue. “The cow is a sacred animal for us and they have insulted us,” said Vithilingam, a former president of the organisation.

He demanded an apology from the protestors but was quick to add “that does not mean action should not be taken against them.”

Meanwhile, the president S Mohan urged the Hindus to remain calm.“But as a minority, we still need to be respected and should be given a place of worship,” he said.

Sangam never consulted

According to Vaithilingam, the Section 23 residents have never discussed or raised objection to the temple relocation with the Sangam yet some of them went to the state secretariat to protest.

“Although it is a democratic right to protest, we do not want them to insult other religions,” he said.

He also reiterated that some of the residents did not meet them but met another body with a similar sounding name.

The organisation, said Vaithilingam, is called ‘Hindu Sevai Sangam’ and is a social services body, not a national organistion.

“It is also a religious-based body and registered about five years ago…and they are affiliated members of the Hindu Sangam”, he said, adding that he has no problem with them meeting the residents in the first place.

He also said that they are happy with today’s meeting with Pakatan Rakyat leaders today, describing it as “a beginning of something”.

But the final decision (on the temple relocation) has to be in hands of the state government and the temple. “We’ll just try to smoothen things out,” said Vaithilingam.

Need to clarify that Vaithilingam is former president of the MHS, and seems to be the advisor to the Sangam at the moment.

Hindu Sangam, Sevai Sangam or movie Sangam?

September 4th, 2009
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Its a sad reflection of the society we live in when a section of the community don’t even know about the religious bodies of another community. Due to the focus on one particular race/religion, many of us grow up without exposure to other religion facts like festivals, ideals, worship, organisations etc.

Malaysian Hindu Sangam must have been shocked when the Home Minister said that residents from Section 23 had met with representatives from MHS and will be meeting them again. The MHS president was quoted:

S Mohan revealed today that “not even the residents or the home minister Hishammuddin Hussein have come and met them like they claimed yesterday”.

“And I have checked with all of my staff, whether any of them was contacted by the residents or the minister, but no one has. I don’t know why they have used our name,” he added.

However, he said, he is “very keen” to meet the residents and would welcome a discussion with them on the matter that has sparked major uproar especially among the Hindu community nationwide.

“I am willing to meet anybody to resolve the matter amicably… I don’t want any problem with anyone but other people must consider our sentiment. We still need a temple for worship,” Mohan said.

More of Mohan’s comment as appeared in Malaysian Insider:

However Hindu Sangam president RS Mohan Shahmugam today told The Malaysian Insider they have had no official invitation yet to meet the federal government about the issue.

Hindu Sangam also believes the proposed site in Section 23 is the best area to relocate the temple.

Mohan said the temple was not meant to cater only to the Hindus from Section 23 but also from Sections 19, 20, 21 and 22.

Together there are at least 3,000 Hindus in these areas, Mohan said, adding the issue of relocating the temple from its current site in Section 19, had been pending for the last two decades.

The current temple was once part of Sungai Garing Estate, but over the years the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) had developed the areas surrounding the site into a housing estate.

The temple now lies in the middle of a Muslim-majority area and there had been no concrete effort to relocate until recently.

“This is not a new problem and I don’t understand why the small group of residents needed to protest in such a manner,” Mohan said.

Mohan said that carrying the head of a cow which is scared to Hindus was insulting and called on the government to take action against the culprits.

He also denied claims made yesterday by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that residents of Section 23 had met Hindu Sangam to resolve the relocation issue.

“I have checked and there was no such meeting.”

However Mohan said he would welcome a meeting with the minister.

Actually, it was Hindu Sevai Sangam (HSS) whom met the residents!

However the confusion over which Hindu-based group had met with the residents was clarified when VK Regu of the Malaysia Sevai Sangam told Malaysiakini that it was his group which had the meeting.

He said his movement had met the protesting residents on the day after the protest to hold a dialogue.

“We had a fruitful meeting and we explained to them how our feelings were hurt by their actions. We also told them why cows are considered sacred to us,” he said, adding that his movement plans to hold more meetings with the residents in the near future.He said that the meeting was done on their own initiate and that they had no connections with the Malaysia Hindu Sangam.”It was us whom Hishammuddin was talking about. I also spoke to the minister and he knows our stand on the matter. He said he will help solve the problem,” added Regu.

The poor residents not even sure who they met in the first place, making this look more and more comical and disastrous.

Bol Radha bol, sangam hoga ke nehi… That’s the famous song from the 1964 hit movie Sangam. Maybe they saw this movie and got confused 🙂

The protestors wanted their voices heard?

September 3rd, 2009
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We can see it coming now. After a “small” crowd of 50 people did their vile, embarrassing, insulting, and damaging stunt with an animal head in from of state government office, the police and Home Minister have provided some input. While the police said the probe was completed and case files to be submitted to AG office today, there need to be an inquiry on why the incident was allowed to take place in the first place since the police gave rather innovative reasons – situation was not permitting and that a junior officer was in charge. Granted the district police chief was forced to apologise for the inaction, but still need to review to avoid future problems. I mean, people are asking – why is this particular protest handled differently from others? What’s so unique about it? Is it due to the fasting month? Is it due to the participants? Is it due to the large crowd and lack of officers? Wasn’t there a worry of the  later impact of the protest even though the immediate situation on the ground was controlled (protest was allowed for 15 minutes or so).

Did the probe also cover (i)  the statements by the protest leader that his protest was hijacked (what a lousy leader! I won’t want him to represent me after this, if I was a resident in Section 23 – small protest also cannot handle, how to face the state government?), (ii) the source and the owner of the animal head, (iii) identification of the culprits based on the video clip freely available on the Internet?, (v) the hate-inciting and religion-insulting banners/words uttered, and (v) the persons behind the scene who instigated or planned for the s0-called hijack? I hope so because IGP said 60 people were interviewed within 3 days and the persons involved have been identified.

Our esteemed Home Minister have also provided his valuable thoughts after issuing warning action against actions that can be detrimental to national security (I take it as meaning if someone protests against the cow head protestors?):

“We need to look at the angle where a temple is going to be moved there, so we need to go across the political ideology. The relocation could be offensive to anyone.

Hmm…I guess we should only consider that angle. Non-relocation also offensive to “anyone”. So, why no just demolish and pretend nothing happened?  Can ask a certain ex-MB for advice and contacts – he’s experienced in ordering demolition of temple.

Home Minister Hishamuddin also met some of  the residents at Putrajaya. He tried his best to rationalise the action of the protestors, which is kind of unexpected for a person who is supposed to be in charge of internal security. Probably wanted to show a softer approach to this problem. Among the interesting arguments put forth by the minister:

he said the protesters “had no intention at all to bring the cow’s head and invoke racial sentiments or cause tension”.

“They are not going (to be let off) scot-free. But they just feel victimised because they feel there is another valid explanation and had no intention to cause racial (divisions),” he said. [don’t we all feel victimised. So, means can carry some head or another to voice our dissatisfaction? how about wearing certain color shirts? No? Only cow head allowed? Need clarification here.]

… Hishammuddin said he was told that the “residents did not know the organisers and did not know a cow’s head would be brought during the demonstration”. [I thought the organiser also attended this meeting? Or is the organiser an outsider, a non-resident?]

“When we sat and discussed this, they (said they) realised that they were in a situation they could not control.” [sesal dahulu pendapatan, sesal kemudian tak berguna – have heard of this proverb? Doesn’t apply here?]

He further defended the protesters, saying that “they just wanted their voices to be heard”.

“However it was unfortunate that the protest was given negative publicity because it was linked to religious and racial sentiments,” he said. [Err…isn’t that the whole point? So, we must give it positive publicity? If want to voice out also, use the brain a bit la. Very clear even for small kids, that this is not voicing out, but provocation.]

… The minister noted that the residents have since taken “a pro-active” measure by meeting with members of the Hindu Sanggam two days ago, and that both sides will hold another meeting tomorrow.“So if it can be resolved quickly and both sides understand each other, why (should) they be penalised?” said Hishammuddin. [Ahh..so if you do something and later do something else to negate the first action, then it should be alright. I like this word pro-active. Maybe the residents should have approached MHS BEFORE allowing outsider to organise the protest, siap dengan banner pulak! That would be super pro-active. Can win prize for best RA.]

Although the protestors reportedly did not have a permit the minister said “the protest was not big and they (organisers) were very respectful of the Selangor sultan” [Hmm…two criterias outlined for protests in Selangor. Is this written somewhere or just use common sense? ].“They even limited the number of people from the committee to only 10. In fact if they wanted to have a bigger protest they could have, but they were conscious (of the impact).“All they wanted to do was to voice their unhappiness and the unwillingness of the state government to consider their request.” [so, this is the way to voice out. Lesson to be learnt here?]

Hishammuddin said the Selangor government made a poor decision in relocating the temple to a predominantly Malay area.“Even the Hindus are not passionate about the relocation of the temple to the area,” he claimed. [The minister should have elaborated which Hindus are not passionate on the relocation – MHS, Section 19 residents, Section 23 residents, or some MIC people.  There should have been some statistical data, backed by the complete case study and survey forms /AV recordings of the interviews. Then it would carry more weight. And surely, can provide sugggestion for alternative location? Shah Alam has about 30-odd sections only].

Asked why the police had not acted when the cow’s head was brought in, he claimed that action had been taken.“I was monitoring it myself and reporting it to the prime minister,” he said. Commenting on the upcoming dialogue between the Shah Alam Municipal Council and the residents to be held on Saturday, Hishammuddin said this comes “a little too late”.“The residents had met the state representatives before. If they (the representatives had) resolved it then, there wouldn’t need to be a protest (in the first place),” he said. [So, this is not considered pro-active after residents said they are unhappy? The meeting was already being arranged, but the protest still went ahead. Why?]

On a personal note, Hishammuddin felt the protest “in this day and age should be accepted in this world, as the people want their voices to be heard”.“If we don’t give them room to voice their opinions, they have no choice but to protest. (But) regardless of the action they take, they have to adhere to the laws of the country. So they have to be responsible,” he said. [Motivation talk to protest responsibly.]

Hmm… I wonder if HINDRAF /candle vigil/”wear black” protestors can borrow him to argue their case. The reasons seems applicable to them as well.

The resident association also met with MHS earlier, and will be meeting them again to issue some sort of statement – damage control I guess. For the greater good.

Anyway, I guess we know the outcome. Anyone willing to bet a prosecution to take place?

Cabinet to investigate Indira children conversion

April 17th, 2009
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If this lady is as tough as her namesake, its going to a be hell of a problem for the husband.  The story, as written published below, may not tell the whole picture, and to be fair, we have to wait till more details come out.

But while the case is going on, I wonder what happened to the initiative to streamline the conversion processes as proposed by PM Badawi last time. Then, MCA, ABIM, IKIM, and other groups were making noise of the illegal conversions issues that caused lot of unhappiness and distrust among the communities in the country. And some people wonder why certain community can be ungrateful or unappreciative or whatever.

This kind of problem won’t end without proper guidelines and perhaps a monitoring body for the non-Muslims to ensure their rights are actually protected, and not exist merely as words in the constitution. We had the Subashini case which still reverberates in our minds. Granted there were few cases where the conversion was reversed –  like the Chinese lady, Tan Eng Huan who married an Iranian (I think) out love, but never practised anything remotely close to Islam. A lady was buried as Buddhist after it was proven that she never did practise Islam, in Perlis. There was another case in Kota Bahru and one more in Malacca, if I’m not mistaken where the families of the convert got back their properties. Some may be deemed convert just because their MyKad said so! Or do anyone remember case of Elangesvaran?

The case of Indira Gandhi was first highlighted via a Hindu Sangam press statement as below, with specific mention of abuse:

PRESS STATEMENT :
APPEAL TO RAJA NAZRIN – DO WE NEED TO CONVERT BREASTFED 11 MONTH OLD BABY ?

At a time when we are welcoming “ONE MALAYSIA” concept we still have Ulamas who convert a 11 month old baby named Prasanna Thiksha to Ummu Abima bte Mohd Ridzuan. This baby was grabbed by a wife beating husband and both the husband Pathmanathan and the baby were converted in the state of Perak at Ipoh, Pasir Putih. The baby is still being breastfed.

A police report was made, but, as usual it does not “interfere” when it comes to one particular religion.

The mother a kindergarten teacher Indra Gandhi had to protect her other two children. The husband was able to snatch the Birth Certificates of the two Children and the wife now lives in fear because she is wondering whether the Birth Certificates can be used to convert the other two children.

Is this the “ONE MALAYSIA” vision we are going to encounter in the years to come? The Malaysia Hindu Sangam is most disturbed with this turn of events because the Judiciary in Malaysia has most often been “blind” to issues on Islam. We now have to channel our appeal to the Royalty because the head of the religion is the Ruler.

It is with good intentions that we appeal to the lovable Prince of Perak HRH Raja Nazrin ibni Sultan Raja Azlan Shah to intervene and solve this problem in a mutual humane way with harmony, peace and justice for all.

Thank you.

Datuk A. Vaithilingam
President
Malaysia Hindu Sangam

So, for now, just like Saravanan (the ex-husband of Subashini), this fellow is also looking like a coward who brings shame to the religion he claims to converted to. He had no guts to go through the divorce process and took the back door way.

THE MHS issued another press statement saying that the matter has been brought to the attention of the Cabinet:

Press Statement : Cabinet Intervenes On Complaints on Child Conversion

15 APRIL 2009

Early this month a father forcefully converted his eleven month old baby by grabbing the baby from the mother after assaulting her. This happened at Pasir Puteh, Ipoh. Last week the father Pathmanathan alias Mohd Ridzuan B Abdullah has obtained a Syariah court order to send the other two children whom he claimed to have converted to Islam by using their Birth Certificates to be sent to him.

After bringing this matter up to the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Hj Muhiyuddin and Cabinet Ministers Tan Sri Koh Tsu Khoon and Datuk Dr.S.Subramaniam, this matter was brought to the cabinet meeting today and it was viewed with great concern.

Tan Sri Muhiyuddin informed me that 3 Minsters led by Tan Sri Koh Tsu Khoon, Major General Datuk Jamil Khir and Datuk Dr S.Subramaniam have been asked to immediately look into the matter.

Tan Sri Koh Tsu Khoon has requested the Malaysia Hindu Sangam and all others concerned to provide all the information so that a quick solution can be worked out. He also said that the Prime Minister has taken a serious view of this matter.

In the meantime Malaysia Hindu Sangam appeals to all concerned to be calm and assist in finding a just solution to this issue.

Datuk A.Vaithilingam.
President
Malaysia Hindu Sangam.

I hope the ministers concerned can indeed come out with some statement, instead of we have to rely on MHS. This will go a long way to reestablish some trust in the system. It will be good indeed if the DPM or PM mention something so that can reassure the families and community at large.

So, will Indira Gandhi plea be heard?

Her three young children were forcefully converted to Islam by her estranged husband. And M Indira Ghandi is taking her plight straight to the doorstep of Sri Perdana.

Calling on newly minted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to explain the matter, the 35-year-old kindergarten teacher said: “He talks about an united Malaysia. But what does this mean when only the Muslims have rights.”

“I am not anti-Islam and I am not saying that they (Muslims) are doing wrong things but why do non-Muslims have to suffer like this?” she asked as tears welled up in her eyes.

Indira’s marriage is now is a limbo as her husband K Patmanathan, 40, had converted without her knowledge on March 11.

She claimed that her husband, who has since assumed the name Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, had also converted their children, aged one to 12, on April 12 without their presence and using only their birth certificates.

He took my baby (their youngest child) from me and ran away… I have not seen her ever since and I don’t know how she’s doing,” lamented Indira.

As for her marriage, the teacher, who also claimed to have been physically abused, said the couple were married for 16 years and had been facing problems for a long time. “It started so many years back that I can no longer keep track of when it started.”

“Recently he asked for a divorce and I thought to myself that since that was what he wanted I consented but he did not want to start the process and demanded that I do so.

“So I went to a marriage tribunal and filed for counselling in Ipoh but he never attended any of the counselling sessions,” she said. [so, there will be some records here]

Indira claimed that after one particular explosive argument, which also involved her mother and sisters, her husband had fled with their youngest daughter Prasana Diksa.

“When we went to the police station and lodged a report, no immediate action was taken by the police although my baby was still very young and needed to be breast-fed,” she said.

Since that incident, Indira has filed six police reports, with one alleging that she feared for her life because her husband had threatened her.

Indira said the police managed to locate her husband later but only to discover that he had converted the children.

The couple’s two other children Tevi Darsiny, 12 and Karan Dinesh, 11 are currently living with Indira, who has taken refuge with a relative fearing that Islamic officials would take the kids away.

“I was neither told nor asked about it (the conversion)… I don’t know what to do,” she lamented.

According to Indira, her husband had called her last Wednesday and promised to return her youngest child.

“He asked me to come to the Islamic Department (Jais) in Ipoh and take my baby because he could not care for her but he didn’t show up.

“Instead there was a man waiting there to serve me papers from the Syariah Court granting custody of my other children to him,” she said.

However, she refused to accept the papers as she believed that Syariah laws had no jurisdiction over her.

As for her husband’s conversion, Indira said he had spoken about his interest in Islam but she claimed this was related to monetary gains.

“I have no idea what his intentions are… but he mentioned once before that we will get RM5,000 each if we ‘nikah’ (marry according to Islamic rights) and money would also be given on a monthly basis to each of our children for education purposes.

“Over the past couple of days he keeps calling me and asks me to convert to Islam. He tells me that I should convert first and then we, as in the whole family, can opt out later back into Hinduism,” she said, adding that she wanted to remain a Hindu.

‘I love my wife very much’

Contacted later, her husband dismissed Indira’s allegations as absurd, saying he converted because he was passionate about Islam which he had discovered during his business trips.

Denying that he had physically abused her, Mohd Ridzuan said: “I don’t want to say anything but I love my wife very much… right now I only want her back.”

Asked why he had converted the children without informing his wife, he replied: “You see all the children must follow the father’s religion no matter whether he is a Hindu, Christian or Muslim.

“This is not a political issues, this is my family matter and I don’t want to shame my wife,” said the businessman who has filed for custody of the children with the Syariah Court.

Meanwhile, Indira has sought the help of several legal adviders, non-Muslim organisations and the public.

“This is not only my case, many people are suffering because of this. We are filing for the custody of my children because they don’t want to go to their father, and they (the other party) are totally rejecting this.

But the question is even if I can get back my children, will they be Hindu again? Why does it only take a day to convert my children but it is so difficult to return to their old religion?” she asked.

“Don’t I have say in it, when I was the one who carried them for nine months… aren’t they my children too? So what is my right and my children’s rights?

“The government say this is a country where it is free to practice your own religion but what is the right of a non-Muslim in this situation?” she added.

Well, in any case, Indira better make plan to migrate.