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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

P Kalamanathan should be more transparent



It is not so much about racism that the canteen operator was told to cease operation, but the lack of transparency in MIC education bureau chief P Kamalanathan’s own response to the saga that raises concerns.
The allegation made by a certain individual was that the Indian food service provider at Politeknik Seberang Perai was told to cease operation on “grounds that his stall was not syariah compliant”.
Kalamanathan’s statement, saying that there was no element of racism, is nothing but a smokescreen of the real issue.
In my opinion, it was not even a religious issue but the forced compliance to a set of rules imposed by another party and this is what Kalamanathan failed to address.
This is the real issue, nothing to do with the service provider being Indian. It has to do with the reluctance of the operator to comply with certain syariah regulations.
The fact that the Facebook posting had attracted an online petition of over 300 people within a short period clearly shows that the Indian food stall operator has his or her own fans.
It is one man’s meat and another man’s poison. You cannot blame the operator for killing the chicken in a certain way because he is a non-Muslim and caters to the needs of non-Muslims in the polytechnic.
I am asking Kalamanathan this question: Is there a need for the Indian operator, who may be a Hindu, to also be syariah compliant, since the stall has its own clients?
Don’t play the game of tai chi
Kalamanathan should not try to hide this fact or play the game of tai chi. Instead, he should be more upfront about the real issue and determine how he can resolve the matter with the administration of the polytechnic.
There has to be a mutual respect between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities if we love peace and harmony in this country. Such lack of tolerance has to be dealt with at the highest level to avoid anyone from exploiting the situation.
As a deputy minister, Kalamanathan should seek for the Indian stall operator to be reinstated, based on market demand and not some bureaucratic decisions, which are discriminatory to small-time operators.
Such a simple thing and if the deputy minister is unable to solve, it clearly shows the lack of integrity on his part to deal with the real issues.

Kalamanathan owes to the Malaysian public an explanation on why he tried to evade the syariah compliance issue, which appears to be the crux of the matter.


STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.- Mkini

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