PENANG Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P Ramasamy has accused National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique as not being truthful on coming out with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Thaipusam.
“After I criticised her for going back on her word on the SOPs, she has replied by saying that those announcements were in accordance with discussions with temple managements in different states and health requirement,” the Perai assemblyman remarked.
“What is the point of her visiting different states to meet up with the temple committees when such meetings had no bearing on the SOPs announced?”
According to Ramasamy, there is “very little input” from the discussions with the temple committees in the SOPs that were announced.
“In Penang, Halimah had approved to allow 100 devotees to accompany the chariots even though the Hilltop Murugan temple committee proposed 500 devotees so how she approved the magical number of ‘100’ remains a mystery,” he remarked.
“Maybe she received recommendations from the Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) which is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) ever ready to humour and please those in the power establishments.”
Ramasamy went on to question MIC’s lack of response to the Thaipusam SOPs, calling it “strange” that the party that had often come to the “rescue” of the Indian community had been rather tight-lipped.
“Earlier I thought it was good for Halimah to have met the various temple committees for discussions on Thaipusam and needless to say, she was followed by a huge entourage wherever she went at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers’ money,” he commented.
“Was there a need for such a big delegation considering that her discussions with temple committees had no implications on the SOPs that were announced?”
According to Ramasamy, the latest round of SOPs which stated that only 100 people would be allowed to follow the chariot procession might pose huge complications for the police and other security personnel.
“The SOPs announced on Wednesday (Jan 12) stated that all the 100 must be members of the temple committee, staff and volunteers with no one from the public allowed to join,” he pointed out.
“But why should the chariot procession be accompanied only by the temple committee members? What about other devotees – are they not Hindus?
“The police have no choice but to adhere to the SOPs that were announced but how are they going to prevent other devotees from joining the chariot processions?
“It is easy for Halimah to say this and that but it remains a nightmare for those who are in charge of managing the huge crowd.”
Said Ramasamy, Hindus in the country are hurt and humiliated by Halimah for “not respecting their religion on an important religious festival such as Thaipusam”.
“I am not sure why such a minister who is not sensitive to the sentiments of the Hindus was put in charge of the organisation of religious festivals,” he remarked.
“I am sure that there is a Hindu minister around in the form of Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan who could have made more sensible announcements – why was he pushed to the background?” – Jan 14, 2022