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UMNO has shown disrespect for Deepavali and Hindus by continuing with its General Assembly on November 8 when the Prime Minister and UMNO leaders should be marking Deepavali celebrations with open houses of Hindus


Press Statement (2)

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP deeply regrets and disagrees with MIC President Datuk S. Samy Vellu that the Indian community will not feel slighted by Umno's decision to continue its General Assembly on Deepavali on November 8 with UMNO decision not to take any break but continue with its meeting from 5-9 November 2007. UMNO should be condemned for continuing to hold its meetings on Deepavali even though it is a public holiday.

UMNO has show disrespect for Deepavali and all Hindus by continuing with its General Assembly on November 8, when the Prime Minister and UMNO leaders should be marking Deepavali celebrations with open houses of Hindus. Even if Samy cannot criticize UMNO since UMNO is a big brother or even a father-like figure to MIC, he should not have openly endorsed and agreed with UMNO’s move.

By saying that Indians are mature, not so narrow-minded as to misinterpret the situation in understanding that Umno had to continue its meeting because it was already close to the year's end, Samy is clearly speaking for himself and not for Indians in Malaysia. I have received calls from Indians who are angry at what Samy is saying.

Some even say that whilst they are upset at UMNO for not respecting Deepavali, many are angrier at Samy for blindly supporting UMNO’s disrespect of Deepavali. The common sentiment is how UMNO leaders can and non-Hindus respect Hindu temples, beliefs and Deepavali if self-proclaimed Hindu leaders and Indian leaders like Samy do not even respect and uphold the importance of Deepavali.

When one’s own community leaders diminishes and reduces his own community’s culture to irrelevance until he dares not even criticize those who disparage the importance of Deepavali, it is not surprising that Indians are the marginalized Malaysian. Not only are Indians left out economically and educationally, even their customs and religions fail to gain proper respect. For instance, Parliament House was turned into an abattoir recently when cows and buffaloes were slaughtered in the grounds of Parliament House without any respect for the sensitivities of Hindus.

For this reason, Samy should retract his open support for UMNO’s continuing to hold its General Assembly on Deepavali day and unconditionally apologize to the Indian community. To redeem his mistake, Samy should bring up in the next Cabinet meeting by impressing upon Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to respect Deepavali as a public holiday by not continuing with the UMNO meeting but to celebrate together with Hindu friends in the spirit of multi-religious and multi-cultural freedom, respect and harmony.



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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