AGAINST the backdrop of DAP lawmaker Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham having apologised over his suggestion to include non-Muslims in a special committee formed by the Federal Government to study the Syariah law, a MIC grassroots leader has pleaded with Muslims to reciprocate by “staying out” of non-Muslim affairs as well.
Puchong MIC Division chief Awtar Singh Sidhu cited PAS-ruled states which closed outlets of number forecast operators like Magnum and Sports Toto as part of their across-the-board gambling ban or even prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“You guys want to control everything when you can just refrain from buying Magnum and Sports Toto or abstain from consuming liquor. You guys still meddle in those matters when they have to do with religious freedom of non-Muslims,” he pointed out in a recent video clip.
“Shouldn’t this be construed as interfering in the affairs of non-Muslims by imposing laws to ban gambling or sale of alcoholic beverages?”
Awtar went on to hit out at the ‘frequent’ act of demolishing Hindu temples “when we seldom hear of demolishing Chinese places of worship or even mosques”.
“Perhaps historically there are many Hindu temples due to the existence of estates,” he contended.
“Let non-Muslims handle the legality aspect of temples which might be erected illegally. In this regard, municipal councils should appoint a Hindu or Buddhist to sit in their committees to represent non-Muslims when we are confronted with issues related to non-Muslims.”
Relating his past experience as the Subang Jaya municipal councillor, Awtar said he was responsible in “re-locating seven Hindu temples, three Gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship) and two Buddhist temples”.
“This was made possible because I was in the committee and able to find a solution before such matters escalated to become an issue whereby the opposition would seize the opportunity to stir up racial sentiments,” he contended while referring to the recent backlash from partial demolition of the 103-year-old Sri Naga Amman temple in Sentul by its landowner.
“Issues such as temple demolition should be left to non-Muslims to settle … At best, Muslim officers at municipal councils should refrain from making decision by leaving the matter solely to non-Muslims to handle,” suggested Awtar.
“The current practice has been that Muslims are the ones who arrived the decision but non-Muslims get faulted which is rather unfair. If there are insufficient non-Muslim officers around, then efforts must be taken to increase their intake whether at the civil service level or at local government level, including city councils.”
He added: “This is certainly not a tedious move but an easy formula. We’re not keen to interfere in your affairs and likewise you guys, too, shouldn’t meddle in our affairs. If there are still those who fan racial sentiments after this, then arrest them regardless of they are Muslims or non-Muslims.” – Dec 31, 2023