Former ISA detaineee and PKR member K Vasantha Kumar is upset that a temple in Kedah revoked its permission to hold a Deepavali festival.
PETALING JAYA: Former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee K Vasantha Kumar today accused the Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party (MMSP) president R S Thanenthiran and several Gerakan leaders of derailing efforts to unite the fragmented Malaysian Indian community.
He alleged that the MMSP chief and several Gerakan leaders had instigated a temple president in Sungai Petani, Kedah not to give permission for the temple premise to be used for the gathering of Indians, which he had organised.
Vasantha Kumar said in view of the Deepavali celebrations next week, a group of concerned Indians, headed by him, had planned to organise a Deepavali cultural programme on Oct 22 at the Sri Subramnaniya Swami Devasthanam temple.
As a PKR member, Vasantha Kumar said he had also invited the party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to officiate the event.
“The main purpose of the event is to unite the Indian community, expose our culture and explain the true meaning of Deepavali,” he told FMT.
Vasantha Kumar said he wrote a letter to the temple chairman S Doraisingam on Aug 16 seeking permission for the use of the temple premise.
‘Why can’t we invite politicians?’
In a letter dated Aug 30, the temple chairman agreed to the request but only to rescind the offer in another letter dated Oct 11.
“In a second letter, the temple chairman stated that the temple committee had decided to revoke the earlier permission because the organisers of the event had strayed from its original purpose of uniting the Indian community.”
“The letter also stated that the event would be graced by political leaders and furthermore the event did not have a police permit.”
“This is strange, why can’t we invite a political leader for a Deepavali function?” he questioned.
He further argued that a police permit is not required for national festival celebrations or for an event held inside a hall.
Vasantha Kumar said since the temple was located in the Sidam state assembly seat, which was traditionally contested by Gerakan under the Barisan Nasional’s seat allocation system, several local Gerakan leaders played their part in preventing the event from taking place.
He accused Thanenthiran of playing a “dirty game” behind the scene.
“Recently MMSP was able to assist the temple by giving it RM1 million as allocation from the Prime Minister’s Office. I believe the temple chairman and committee are desperate in trying to please these BN politicians,” he added.
Thanenthiran and the temple authorities could not be contacted.