Apr 29, 2008

MIC Tells Khir To Stop Playing Politics

Video Link : 'Samy Vellu ordered temple demolition'

PUTRAJAYA, April 29 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has told former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo to stop making baseless accusations as the reasons for the Barisan Nasional's loss of the state in the general election last month.

"He has said that I gave him the go-ahead to demolish a Hindu temple (at Kampung Rimba Jaya, near Shah Alam) on Nov 15. I wish to clarify that the temple was demolished in mid-October.

"Why didn't he mention that I was the one who pleaded to him and the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) to stop the original planned demolition of the said temple. Don't blame others for your own folly and arrogance," Samy Vellu, the former Works Minister, said in a statement here Tuesday.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, an Internet-based news portal, Khir claimed that Samy Vellu had instructed him to demolish the temple as it was used for gatherings of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters.

"Samy Vellu called me on the night of Nov 15 and told me that the Hindraf people had infiltrated the temple and that it must be demolished that night itself," alleged Khir, who was Selangor menteri besar at the time.

"But the temple had already been demolished, with the deities already removed by the end of October and what is there to demolish anyway and why would I ask for a temple which has already been demolished to be demolished again," Samy Vellu retorted Tuesday.

He said Dr Khir should stop looking for scapegoats for the loss of the state to the opposition and take responsibility for "chasing away Indian votes from the BN".

"My request to him is to stop talking about all this and let us rebuild the BN and the component parties to get back the support of the people," he said, adding that he had great respect for Dr Khir's ability as a leader who had really turned around Selangor as a major developing state.

Meanwhile, MIC Information Chief Datuk M. Saravanan, who is also Federal Territories Deputy Minister, was more vocal against Dr Khir, telling the former menteri besar to stop making baseless accusations just to escape responsiblity.

"We all know ... the whole world knows how Samy Vellu wanted to stop the demolition of the temple. We are not blind. He pleaded and pleaded but at that time the former menteri besar just refused to listen, not only to the MIC president but also to the prime minister.

"We wanted the demolition deferred but did he listen? He thought Indians were pushovers. He did not give it a second thought. If Samy Vellu has so much power that he could order the demolition of a temple, then why didn't Dr Khir listen to Samy Vellu when Samy Vellu wanted the planned demolition stopped in the first place," said Saravanan.

He said Dr Khir should first apologise to Indians in Selangor for his arrogance while in power and for treating the community as second-class citizens of the country during his tenure as menteri besar.

"We have it on record. Just look at the Tamil Nesan of Oct 31. In a statement, Dr Khir had said that he could not save the temple from being demolished because of a court order ... now he says Samy Vellu instructed him to do so," he said.

Having served as menteri besar of a state which has a multiracial electorate, Saravanan said, Dr Khir should have been more cautious in handling issues which involved race and religion but the former menteri besar was not so during his tenure.

He also told Dr Khir to stop dwelling on issues of the past and justify the wrongs of the past which he said were now haunting him.

Dr Khir had been blamed for the controversial demolition of the Kampung Rimba Jaya Hindu temple in Shah Alam, which caused Indian voters to turn their backs on the BN in the general election.

The incident has been cited by both opposition and BN members as a key factor in influencing the outcome of the March 8 polls.

The BN and Umno took the brunt of the voters' anger over this and other issues, resulting in the state government falling into opposition hands for the first time in election history. Dr Khir then resigned as Selangor Umno chief, and is now leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly.

"My advice to him would be for him to start afresh. Only we know the damage caused by Dr Khir because of his arrogance. We are the ones facing Indian voters day in, day out. He can talk, he can blame (anyone) but at the end of the day, the community looks at us for answers," said Saravanan.

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