I refer to the Malaysiakini MB: Kuala Ketil Hindu cemetery issue settled .
Let me quote from the report: ‘Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said the matter was settled after the government held discussions with family members and the cemetery committee. He said more than 100 graves had been relocated and work on the campus would continue and was expected to complete by 2012.
‘The case is settled. We have also briefed the Malaysian Hindu Sangam association and they understand,’ he told reporters today. He said each family was given RM3,000 to relocate the grave of their loved one to a new site about four kilometres away.’
Now let me quote from a report I have just received from Kuala Ketil from the ‘pengerusi’ of the Kuala Ketil Tamilar Association, the organisation that has been administering the burial ground all along:
‘The Kedah goverment has threatened the families that if they do not remove the tombs they would all be covered up and buried over by earth. Each of the families were given RM3,000/= immediately upon removal. A total of 80 graves have been dug up and the remains were buried in another existing graveyard.
No new location has been offered as promised by the state government (nine acres). There are still about 90 graves left and the concerned families have decided that they stay put’.
It is obvious from this report that the Kedah MB is lying. The problem is far from resolved. And the remains in the 80 graves have not been moved to a new site, they have only been moved to another pre-existing site. Shame on the PAS MB for lying and misleading the public.
Firstly, the Kedah PAS government should stop trying to circumvent the wishes of the people by bringing in an organisation that has never played a role in administering the burial ground (this is the Hindu Sangam) to help the PAS government usurp the rights of the poor Indians of Kuala Ketil.
This is outright treachery, manipulation and an anti-democratic practice, the type of stuff that Umno has been famous for, whom we (including PAS) are striving to throw out.
Secondly, the Kedah state government should stop using strong-arm tactics saying that the burial grounds will be covered-up and totally destroyed even if the people do not remove the tombs. This is the same nonsense that the DAP government did to the people of Kampung Buah Pala, bullying the people into submission. So is this the stuff of r the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
Is this what Pakatan means in their recent announcement in for their ‘Common Policy Framework’ (CPF) where they said, ‘Pakatan rejects policies that allow for corruption and other financial crimes and abuse of power. In order to ensure sustainable growth, oppressive policies that have only enriched the few should be replaced with a policy that ensures that the poor are assisted regardless of race.’
Or is this just another in a string of unfulfilled’ promises? Thirdly I would like to remind the Kedah MB that if they proceed with the demolition of the burial ground, they will be committing a crime under Section 297 of the Penal Code as it will before an amicable settlement is arrived at. Under this law, a person could be jailed for at least a year for trespassing, damaging and desecrating the burial places of any religion.
When are the people going to get to see some real democracy at work? We have not seen it under the BN for the last 52 years. Now, in the last going-to-be two years, we are not seeing it in the Pakatan-controlled states either.
If Pakatan is serious about their CPF pronouncements, we insist that they immediately stop this bullying, manipulating and lying about the Batu Pekaka Hindu burial ground issue and sit down with the true representative organisation, the Kuala Ketil Tamilar Association and hammer out a mutually agreeable solution.
Failing which, they Pakatan, will be exposing their true nature.
The writer is pro-tem central committee member and advisor, Human Rights Party (HRP) .