The Kedah menteri besar’s stereotyping of his critics of one ethnic group is totally unacceptable, Mohamed Arshad Raji writes.
The case of the Hindu temple demolition in Kedah has now turned the commotion into a racial slur and has become ugly. It reflects high-handedness, tactlessness, arrogance among those in power and a level of their intelligence that leaves much to be desired.
It was reported that the Sri Raja Muniswarar Temple in Kuala Kedah, believed to be 50 years old, was demolished recently.
In July, the century-old Sree Madurai Veeran Temple in Jalan Keretapi, a place of worship by Malayan railway workers during the colonial days, was demolished. The demolition was conducted in the middle of the night, to preempt a court injunction.
Such high-handed action by the local authorities is insensitive to the feelings of the people who have affinity to the temples. It is understandable that there are times when old buildings and structures must be torn down to make way for new development plans. But when it involves sensitive issues like temples, tactfulness and mutual understanding must be guiding factors to resolve the issues.
The local authority should have given enough time for all parties to come to a mutually agreed decision for an alternative site for the temple.
As for the century-old temple, there is nothing wrong, and even progressive thinking could have preserved it for historical purposes and turned it into a tourist attraction.
Instead of being composed and calmly explaining the actual situation, Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor hit out his critics with his “drunk on the toddy of popularity” remark. When further criticised, he accused others of not understanding the Malay language and proverb by giving the example of “mabuk cinta”.
The people need not be taught Malay language metaphors and proverbs. It is he who should be taught how to conduct himself as a respected leader. Such an outburst shows his arrogance has overshadowed his articulation skill and level of intelligence – a trait many of his peers often portray in the august house of Parliament.
Furthermore, the menteri besar’s stereotyping of his critics of one ethnic group as drunkards is totally unacceptable. Just as it is disgusting to stereotype one ethnic group as drunkards, it is equally disgusting to stereotype another as corrupt.
Can we have more mature politicians who articulate well on issues?
Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)