Hindraf alleges racial slurs in talks over century-old temple

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KUALA LUMPUR: Indian rights NGO Hindraf has accused a government-linked company (GLC) staff of insulting and intimidating former plantation workers in Dengkil, Selangor, over a planned demolition of a Hindu temple that has existed there for more than a century.

Its chairman P Waythamoorthy wrote a letter to Sime Darby Bhd today requesting that an officer attached to subsidiary Sime Darby Property (SD Property) be replaced as negotiator after he allegedly made racist and derogatory remarks to the workers over the demolition of the temple.

“Sime Darby being a GLC cannot act in such an unscrupulous manner against those ex-plantation workers and treat them as second-class citizens of the nation with impunity being shielded by the Selangor state government,” he said in the letter to Sime Darby chairman Abdul Ghani Othman.

“Even the Hon. Prime Minister boasted that Malaysian Indians were the backbone of Malaysia’s economy just 2 days ago in India.”

Waytha said the workers who run the Persatuan Vinayagar Alayam (Vinyagar temple) in Ladang Ampar Tenang want the officer changed after he allegedly insulted them as “pendatang” (immigrants) and made other disparaging remarks, leading to a breakdown in talks during a meeting on Sept 21.

He called for the officer to be replaced with someone who was able to resolve the matter amicably in the true Malaysian spirit.

“We sincerely hope that your organisation can send forward a reasonable, just and unbiased officer to deal with the ex-plantation workers to reach an amicable settlement,” he said.

Waytha also claimed they were in possession of an internal memo by SD Property of a meeting on Sept 30 which indicated that the company had “collaborated” with Selangor state executive councillor V Ganabatirau to proceed with the eviction.

He claimed that the officer who allegedly made the racist remarks had in this meeting failed or refused to divulge what transpired in the negotiations on Sept 21.

Ganabatirau was one of the five Hindraf figures detained without trial under the Internal Security Act in December 2007 following a massive demonstration the group organised in Kuala Lumpur to highlight the plight of Indians in the country.

Selangor Hindraf Secretary Rajasegaran Marimuthu had in June last year written to Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, seeking an urgent meeting with him, in the wake of an alleged threat by Sime Darby to demolish the temple in the vicinity of its Serenia City township in Sepang.

Waytha had then claimed that the threat had followed the failure of the company to get those affected to accept a unilateral agreement.

He also said the proposed relocation of the temple contravened the guidelines of Selangor’s Town and Rural Planning Department on such matters, the Selangor State Structure Plan 2020 and the Selangor State Structure Plan 2035.

Waytha wants Azmin to intervene on threat to demolish temple