Local Indians unqualified to build Hindu temples

Suppayah Krishnan | Apr 11, 08 3:58pm
I refer to the Malaysiakini report Hindu temples hit by ‘cabinet ban’.

I wonder why the Immigration Department has recently acted negatively in rejecting the professional visas of temple artisans from India to carry out the main temple structures on the pretext that locals should be found for the work. I wish state that a temple is not just a building or a structure based on an ‘ordinary’ architectural understanding.

The structure of a Hindu temple involves numerous sacred patterns and figures of various animals and humans representing angels or the devatas. The temple basically is constructed and structured to reflect the above five gradational koshas. I will go far to say that many temples built by the local talents in Malaysia are not in accordance with Vedic requirements.

The qualified artisans from India are usually vegetarians and should hail from the families possessing similar skills of architectures brought down from the Vedic teachings and Shastras.

It is impossible to create a school or academy of Vedic architecture in Malaysia. Who would fund it? Do we offer subjects of Hindu Temple architecture and the like at local universities for such talents to flourish in Malaysia? In this global age the cheapest would be to take advantage of the specialisation found on the Indian subcontinent than to create a costly school or academy in Malaysia.

I would wonder if the claim of a temple secretary ‘there is an unwritten code to stop the growth of Hindu temples in the country’ is true enough judging from the baseless rejections for these artisans in finalising the temple renovations.

Anyway, would the government seriously consider setting up a body funded by the government to address the needs of the Hindu temples like that of the Majlis Ugama for the mosques in each state?

I have an idea. The Penang and Malacca states have the Hindu Endowments Ordinance, Chapter 175 as an existing law since 1905. Could we make suitable amendments to this law (as this subject is within the purview of Parliament) and make it applicable to all the states in Malaysia with the relevant provisions to look into all the needs of the Hindus and temples?

Another deplorable state of affairs of the Indians in Malaysia relates to the Social Security Organisation. These are:

1. The lack of Indian officers in Socso services to attend to Indian workers’ needs and this has resulted in middlemen or touts charging exorbitant fees and charges for the already poor workers;

2. The jargon and stipulations of Socso provisions are not being understood by the ordinary workers and hence unfair treatment of them by Socso officers;

3. Overzealous ‘little Napoleons’ at work in the Socso agencies;

4. Claims do not reach the affected workers due to their ignorance of procedures and conditions; and;

5. Pension claims are denied on medical review for Malaysians while foreign workers from Indonesia, Australia and other neighbouring countries are being provided for effectively without medical reviews.

Would the new Human Resources Minister Dr. S. Subramanian look into the plight of workers especially those affecting our own Indian Malaysians who are taxpayers’ too. One way would be by creating agencies to be manned by retired Socso officers on a part-time basis with a view to address the above issues.

Perhaps the government could also employ back (as in the 1960’s) more suitably qualified Indian officers to man the all relevant departments and agencies which deal with the Indian community and their needs.

It does not matter whether it is the Barisan Nasional or the Pakatan Rakyat government. One must not forget the most paramount factor and that is their stay in power is being funded solely by the rakyat.

The writer is currently the deputy president of United Hindu Religious Council, Penang (UHRC).

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