FMT LETTER: From Suppayah Krishnan, via e-mail
The letter, ‘Penang Hindu Endowments Board in a mess’, published on June 25, only means that the Penang Pakatan government is advocating its own saying ‘cakap tak serupa bikin’ since its take over of the state government in 2008.
Sad to say the Pakatan assemblymen are just walking into a trap set by certain former MIC or other politicians’ to fail with more discredits in their report cards.
While I agree we did not have many MIC politicians sitting on the HEB and the management committees prior to 2008, the MIC’s participation then did disadvantage the HEB and the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu did see the wisdom of eliminating his own BN politician and supporters in the interest of the HEB.
As a person who engineered the complete removal of all politicians in 1989 and while giving the HEB a new set of board rules, so that it could function more independently without politicians, be it BN or opposition, I have time and again openly voiced out that politicians are not suitable for memberships of the HEB.
This is because inevitably it will only weaken the HEB further than to strengthen it as a regulatory government body with powers to investigate and bring to book mismanagements prevalent in other Hindu endowments in the state.
The clambering for positions in the HEB only means that certain assemblymen have a limited role in other important issues of the state headed by Penang Pakatan government and hence their gate crashing into this small regulatory body that is only entrusted with endowments without religious affairs, does not speak well of possessing any wisdom nor experience.
Unlike its counterpart, the Majlis Ugama Islam, Penang, the HEB is not a religious entity as claimed by the writer in his letter and the Hindu public is perpetually kept in the dark with regards to its original purposes and functions.
The HEB has been a regulatory and administrative body of the government and its main functions are to oversee all the Hindu endowments in the Penang state. “Endowment” in the HEB Ordinance, Chapter 175 means any endowment in land or money given or to be given for the support of any Hindu temple or Hindu shrine or School or other Hindu pious, religious, charitable or beneficial purpose. Does it say that the HEB is religious body entrusted with the religious affairs of the endowments under it?
I can only conclude that the Hindu public is “intentionally misled” into a belief that the HEB may oversee religious affairs as can be seen in the recent HEB’s involvement in the Maha Kumba-abishegam religious ceremony to be held on June 29, 2012. What a silly and childish strategy of politics by a matured group of politicians.
To add further, the HEB is said to have no mainstream state administrative officer (as in the past) to constitute in its legal composition instead an executive director being a paid contractor, has been substituted as his alter ego. This procedure has been seen to only benefit the HEB’s chairman. The HEB is currently manned by numerous contract workers without any civil servant in it.
In my opinion the HEB has evolved into a political tool or platform mainly for party politics in the past by the MIC and currently by the Pakatan, than a government agency entrusted with noble functions by the HEB Ordinance judging by its blind and unwarranted performances.
The writer, a Chartered Secretary is a deputy president of the United Hindu Religious Council, Penang and was the former officer of the government in the HEB for 23 years