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The dark nights

  • Politicians must refrain from exploiting racial issues. They must come together to reject all forms of racism for the sake of this nation.

Sin Chew Daily

The land dispute between a Hindu temple and a developer seems to have opened the door to the Hades, releasing the vices of violence and riots.

On the first dark night, a group of mobsters attacked this temple, beating up the devotees and damaging the facilities. Physical clashes ensued when another group of people vowing to defend the temple rushed to the scene soon afterward.

On the second dark night, gangsters infiltrated into the temple supporters, destroying vehicles and smashing up the developer's office. A fire and rescue department personnel was seriously injured in the incident.

Could there be a third, a fourth, and many more dark nights?

Without tackling the issue from the root of it and taming the burning fury, no one can guarantee there would not be another dark night.

What needs to be urgently found out now is the identity of the mobsters and gangsters running wild on these two nights.

According to the police, the mobsters assaulting the temple on the first night, mostly members of a Malay gang, were actually hired by the developer with the intention of driving out the devotees so that the developer could get back the land.

Employees of the developer One City were found among the mobsters.

One City later issued a statement to deny having hired the mobsters or attempting to create a riot.

With more and more video clips being shared on social media, the incident was painted by some as a racial conflict based on the fact that Malays and Indians were involved and were on opposite ends.

On the second night, gangsters found their way into the midst of temple supporters, protesting, destroying vehicles and seriously injuring the fire and rescue personnel. As all the victims this time were Malays, the incident got an additional racist undertone.

According to the temple warden, some of the protestors were strangers. Gang infiltration was suspected.

What took place on these two nights was basically a consequence of a commercial dispute between the temple authorities and the developer, not a race-oriented conflict per se.

The temple said to be over a hundred years old has been a place of worship for many rubber tappers ever since the site was a rubber estate.

As the economy grew, large swathes of lush woods and rubber plantations have since been transformed into a bustling metropolis. The rubber estate on which the temple stands has already been sold to the developer.

There is also disagreement among the temple management: one group signed a contract with the developer, secured their compensation and a new site for the temple, while the other group refuses to relocate and vows to defend the temple.

After the court ruled in favor of the developer, those refusing to relocate started their temple-saving action. A clash is inevitable if the other party tries to grab the land through violent means.

Our laws may not amicably settle sensitive religious issues like this. All we need is a little more patience and understanding.

As racial sentiment has been thrown into the fracas, it is imperative that the authorities carry out the investigation soonest and impartially.

In the meantime, politicians on both sides of the divide must refrain from exploiting racial issues further. They must come together to reject all forms of racism for the sake of this nation.

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