Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's conditional 'if' over the condo project on Batu Caves temple grounds is typical of arrogant BN and spineless MIC.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak recently lined up the present and past MIC top brass to convince the Indians that the condominium project in sacred Batu Caves would be halted “if” Barisan Nasional wrested Selangor.
The same BN government, which approved the condominium project with the full knowledge of its MIC members who sat at the various meetings, is pointing the finger at Pakatan Rakyat (current Selangor government).
Frankly, there is no real motivation for the MIC to ask Najib to put a stop to the destruction of this temple, first, on the grounds that it is sacred to the Hindus, and secondly and more importantly, on the grounds that it is a national monument.
But all that is not important to the MIC and the BN now. What is important to them are their seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly. And that is the sole reason MIC supports Najib’s “if”.
As prime minister Najib has the power to intervene and protect a “national monument”, there is no need for the “if.”
“If” is found only in the dictionary of fools; are all Indians to be made fools of?
Is Najib really sincere? Why wait till the election is over and set it as a condition on a minority community to win the state for him? Where is the sincerity if it is conditional?
Do the Indians make the majority of the voting population in Selangor?
How can the Indians and in particular the Hindus (as there are Muslims, Christians and Sikhs among the Indians) ensure a BN victory?
Even if BN wins the state, will Najib say that it was not won on Indian vote alone and let the condominium project continue?
Would Najib also turn around and claim BN lost because the Indians voted against him?
You can do anything with a minority, and the Indians are a minority this BN government never treated well at all.
Quarries paid BN millions
Let’s talk history. History has proven the Selangor BN government to be callous and arrogant.
Dolomite Industries has been blasting the site since way back in the 1970s. It was given the approval to build the condominium by the previous BN government.
The quarrying approval was known to MIC councillors and Public Works Department authorities who had allowed other quarries to also blast away rocks in the area.
Now let’s talk money. In the 1970s, the Selangor BN government was reportedly paid some 300,000 sterling pounds (British currency) a year for quarrying rights by the quarrying companies.
The BN government then was not bothered about the Hindus and their interests because the quarries brought in more money.
In the mid 70s Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) initiated a “Save Batu Caves Campaign” which was almost immediately supported by the Malaysian Nature Society, The Environmental Protection Society and the Batu Caves Protection Society.
In 1978, at the eleventh hour the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment submitted an urgent report to the Selangor government warning that serious damage would befall the caves if immediate action was not taken as cracks had began to appear in the caves.
Two years after that report was sent to the Selangor BN government, the blasting was ordered to halt in June, albeit prolonged delays. By then more cracks had appeared on the caves and stalagmites had begun falling.
But the companies appealed and despite knowing the extent of damage, the Selangor BN government gave them an additional six-month extension.
There was no concern about the temple or the fact that hundreds of thousands of Hindus considered the caves sacred.
The quarries brought in money and that was what mattered.
Desecrating temples under BN regime
Decades have passed and the Selangor BN government’s arrogance has long been forgotten but allow me to further refresh your memories.
Firstly, the then chairman of the Selangor BN government’s Batu Caves Committee was Sabaruddin Chik.
In response to the “Save Batu Caves” campaign’s urging the government not to extend the blasting, Sabaruddin said: “The members of the Save Batu Caves Campaign can jump from an aeroplane, sleep on the road, slaughter goats or do anything but the state [BN] government will stand firm on its decision.”
This was the disdain with which the BN government of Selangor treated the Hindus and the Batu Caves.
This attitude would at a later stage (read prior to 2008) in its history manifest again in the destruction and desecration of temples in the state.
Najib, who was then (prior to 2008) Deputy Prime Minster, did not lift a finger while the then Selangor menteri besar Dr Khir Toyo went about breaking and desecrating Hindu temples.
It was also Khir’s government which was responsible for the award of the Batu Caves condominium project.
Today, Najib as the prime minister is promising the Indians that if they vote the BN into power, he’ll make sure that the condominium project is scrapped.
Where then is the “nambikei”? Can Najib even be trusted?
Toffee Rozario is a businessman who spends his free time writing to create awareness. He blogs at Toffee’sTurn.