KUALA LUMPUR, Thurs:2008/04/17
The demolition of Hindu temples was the ‘atomic bomb’ that destroyed Indian support for Barisan Nasional in the March 8 general election, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said today. The BN paid the price for the rash actions of some leading to the Indian vote going largely to the opposition, he added.
The former Works Minister, an unexpected casualty of the political tsunami that swept parts of the nation during the polls, said the BN would have Indians support if it had addressed the issue of the temples properly.
He cited the demolition of a 36-year-old temple in Kg Karuppiah, Padang Jawa, by the Selangor government last October as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“That one temple that was demolished in Padang Jawa became a big atomic bomb which chased away the Indian community. We blindly smashed the temples and we paid the price for it. If we had ‘jaga jaga’ (looked after) the temples, we would have won the Indian vote,’ he told reporters at MIC headquarters.
Samy Vellu had called for the Press conference to thank the Federal government for approving the renewal of work permits for 800 foreign priests for Gurdwaras (Sikh templeas) and Hindu temples.
Samy Vellu acknowledged, however, that the Selangor government later allocated a 10,000 sq ft piece of land in Shah Alam to rebuild the temple.
In the march 8 general election, Samy Vellu was defeated by Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj in the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat, a constituency the MIC strongman has held since 1974.
On why the Home Ministry approved the renewal of visas for Hindu priests and temple musicians and artisans from India, he said they understood the implications of not doing so.
“There will be a problem if they do not approve as temples may have to be closed,” he said.
He said the BN’s failure to secure the two-third majority in Parliament was discussed at Wednesday’s BN management committee meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“We discussed why we lost the elections. We asked questions like ‘what is wrong with us?’ and ‘how did we lose the trust of the people,” he said.
Samy Vellu was confident that the BN will spring back from defeat under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and plans to rejuvenate the coalition.
He said the BN was the only party that could bring stability, strength, unity and development to Malaysians.
“There is no other party. You can have 25 other parties joining together but this party (the BN) is a party of experience. It is a party of leadership. It is a party that has led the country for 50 years,” he said.
On the Home Ministry’s plan not to renew the permit of the Makkal Osai, he said this should not have happened and that the newspaper could appeal against the decision.
“I am sorry about it. I do not know why they did it. But the newspaper can always appeal against the decision,” he sai