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Friday, September 26, 2008

MPAJ officers tore down temple despite state govt saying no?

What is this country turning into now?

It seems, another Indian temple is being torn down again - if we blindly accept without question the contents of The Star article here. Note that this report was issued first thing this morning and I also saw others carrying it the night before -


Friday September 26, 2008

MPAJ officers tore down temple despite state govt saying no


KLANG: The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) officers involved in tearing down a Hindu temple in Ampang acted against a state government directive not to destroy places of worship.

Ronnie Liu, who is chairman of the state’s local government, study and research committee, said the state had issued a directive to all local councils to halt action against places of worship when it came into power but the officers defied the order.

He said that in taking the action last month the officers also bypassed the committee on non-Muslim affairs headed by state executive councillors Teresa Kok, Dr Xavier Jayakumar and himself.

“I contacted the council president a day after the incident and asked him to investigate the matter and identify those involved,” he said.

“I was told that he has submitted a preliminary report to my office but I have not read it since I am away in China now so it would be unfair for me to comment further.”

Liu had said a day after the incident that he was upset with the council officers’ actions and threatened that they would face stiff action.

Meanwhile Human Resources Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam said the MIC was extremely disappointed with the state government and MPAJ for allowing the demolition to occur.
“If a temple needs to be relocated due to road expansion or some major development, it can be relocated with the agreement that a new place of worship be built,” he said.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has also condemned the demolition, saying that it went against the Opposition’s promise during the last general election not to demolish any temple.

“It is very uncaring of the local council to demolish the temple without first relocating it,” he said.


So, it seems that:

1. Fact: An Indian temple was demolished.

2. Fact: Three (3) Star Reporters were dispatched to investigate and write the article.

3. Fact: MIC was very quick to condemn the State Government, with both Samy Vellu and Subramaniam given space in The Star to condemn State Government.

4. Fact: The Star Reporters managed to track down Ronnie Liu who was away in China for his statement! (what diligence!).

5. Note: The Star Reporters did not appear to contact the local temple management. At least, the local temple management's view was not reported above. Why is that? Isn't it easier to contact a local person, than to contact Ronnie who was away in China? After all, wasn't there 3 and not just 1 Star Reporter to cover this story?

6. Note: The Star Reporters did not appear to contact MPAJ. At least, MPAJ's view was not reported above. Why is that? Again, isn't it easier to contact MPAJ?

7. Fact: Despite not contacting local temple management and despite not contacting MPAJ, The Star was quick to publish the above article.


Something doesn't "feel right", isn't it?

Anyway, what happened next?

Well, at 8.37 PM, the Star carried a short, follow up story here - http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/9/26/nation/20080926195028&sec=nation

This is what they print.


Friday September 26, 2008 MYT 8:37:15 PM

Temple demolished for renovation

KUALA LUMPUR: The Hindu temple in Ampang had been demolished by its own committee to make way for renovation and a face lift.

Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin said the public condemnation of the demolition and accusation lashed at the local council and state government was unfounded.

The PKR MP said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy’s allegations were completely unfounded and untrue.

“The truth is the temple was demolished by its own committee to make way for renovation and a face lift. They did this of their own accord and did not consult nor seek approval from the state government beforehand.

“We did not even know about the demolition until it happened,” she said.

According to her, the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) was currently investigating the issue and was still waiting for the local council’s report.


Now, note this:

1. It seems this is a non-issue because the temple was NOT demolished under State & MPAJ approval, but was being RENOVATED by Temple Management!

2. An Ampang MP has bothered to check with MPAJ whereas in the first article, none of the three (yes - 3!) Star Reporters didn't.

3. The name of the Star Reporter for the second article is omitted. Is this done deliberately to minimize the credibility of this report?

So, what do you think is happening here?

Obviously, the 2 articles contradicted each other in terms of facts. The first article ass-u-med that the State Government had either lied to Selangor Rakyat, or was negligent in allowing an Indian temple to be demolished. And so, The Star went to town singing MIC's condemnation of the PKR State Government, which clearly created confusion if not hate amongst Selangor Rakyat against PKR State Government.

Then, we have the second article which dropped a bombshell! It was not a forced demolition by the state, but an active renovation by the temple management!

Which immediately raise these questions:

1. Was The Star genuinely negligent in its reporting of the first article?

2. Why is it - when there was 3 reporters assigned to the first article - that The Star failed to even check with MPAJ for the true story?

3. Why is it - when there was 3 reporters assigned to the first article - that The Star failed to even check with the temple management for the true story?

4. Why is it - when there are 3 reporters assigned to the first article - that The Star had no problems and appeared to be quick to seek not one but two (2) MIC views? Why was The Star so quick to politicize this news, when they haven't got all the facts?

5. And yet, how is it possible that despite the above, The Star reporters were able to be very diligent in their investigations - so much so that they were able to contact Ronnie Liu who happened to be outside the country at the time for his views ?!

6. Points 1. to 5. ass-u-mes that the second article is the true article because it is the later article. If so, didn't The Star realize that their first article was clearly a mistake?

7. If The Star realized that their first article was clearly a mistake, then, why didn't The Star issue an apology, and clearly state that the second article is a correction to the first article? Is The Star behaving responsibly by trying to sweep the first article "under the carpet"?

8. Didn't The Star realize that their first article has caused significant reputational and other damages to PKR State Government, by creating unnecessary negative impact on Rakyat's views towards the PKR State Government by virtue of their nationwide readership, when the first article was completely unfounded in its allegations?

9. Shouldn't MIC publicly apologize for being quick to unfairly criticize the PKR State Government on a completely unfounded basis?

10. This is obviously not the first time this happens. When will these lies / propoganda / poor quality reporting stop? Will our newspapers ever become a First World newspaper one day, or will it be relegated forever as a Third World newspaper? Is a change of government the only way to change this?


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