The news in Star on Mar 1 regarding Koh Tsu Koon’s opinion that the newly formed state portfolio on non-Muslim religious affairs really shocking as he feels the portfolio is not needed.
The way I see it, Koh’s reaction can be interpreted in two ways. First, he may just very happy with the way the present state government is handling religious matter smoothly so far, or second, he is arrogantly refusing to accept what the rakyat wants.
As far as we are concerned, this portfolio is timely and shows the keenness of the present state government in fulfilling what is much needed. Obviously they don’t believe in eye wash policies unlike in the past government.
We thank and applaud Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for again putting the rakyat above himself. Since Pakatan took over the administration, they have managed to save the rakyat’s money, they then restored Penang’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to highest so far, giving the rakyat a chance to prosper; yet they have managed to give back some money to the rakyat in the form of cash to senior citizens and helped to relieve the rakyat’s burden via free shuttle service across the Penang bridge.
These are just some examples of the good that they have done, and the people of Penang will be the judge the government based on these, and not listen to those who have failed in their responsibility.
We think the sincere effort of the CM will be well received and will pave way to better representation in state exco meetings.
We believe this portfolio will create a special task force to look into matters concerning the many religious and ancestry sites spelling the history of the different multicultural and multiracial communities in Penang, especially with regards to their land titles, and their upliftment in saving their historical representation in Penang.
Futhermore Hindu Sangam is hopeful that the task force will include many reputed bodies that have been serving the people sincerely. As far as Hindus are concerned they are comprised of the affluent minority, and the majority of displaced urban and rural poor.
That’s why some temples are lavishly built and yet more others are in a dilapidated state.
Futhermore, displacement from the estates is one reason for this and also contributes to urban poverty among Indians.
Additionally, the dire need for Hindus to perform their funeral last rites along rivers or at the seaside has not been of any concern to the previous government, and we hope this portfolio will promptly look into the issue.
To the outsider, the complexities of Hindu religious practice is not easy to be understand, without insight into the religious beliefs; Hindu Sangam is ever willing to assist the state in this respect.
Like it or not we are a multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society. Let us help each other to build the real Malaysian state of Penang.
The writer is chairman of Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Penang.