KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu today appealed to the government to lift the ban on the recruitment of priests from India for Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras.
He said the temples and gurdwaras urgently required about 500 and 300 priests, respectively.
"I have recently met Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to lift the ban on the recruitment of the priests but I was informed that the matter had to be brought up at the Cabinet level," he said in a statement here today.
He said Syed Hamid had told him that it was a Cabinet decision and hence, only the Cabinet could decide to revoke the decision.
"I am appealing to the government to take into consideration the sensitivity involved as the priests are needed urgently to conduct daily prayers," he said.
Samy Vellu cautioned that if the matter was left unresolved, it could spark "major dissatisfaction among the Hindu and Sikh communities".
He said some of the priests were being deported or had their work permits terminated.
"This has caused a lot of anxiety to the devotees and the temple as well as gurdwara management committees, and they have appealed to me to bring up the matter with the government," he said.
The former Works Minister said he had raised the matter in the Cabinet before but there had been slow progress.
"I sincerely hope that the Cabinet will review its decision fast and allow for the recruitment of these priests," he said.
Samy Vellu said it will be a good move for the government to do so (review the ban of priests) in order to regain the confidence of the Indian community, especially with tomorrow being the Tamil New Year.