Sunday, March 28, 2010

NGOs, MIC want to know why Hindu Endowment Board chairman changed


By K. KASTURI




kasturidewi@thestar.com.my

GEORGE TOWN: Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and state MIC representatives are demanding to know why there was a sudden change in the Hindu Endowment Board’s chairmanship.

Penang MIC political bureau vice-chairman N. Ahilan said it was reported that former board chairman A. Tanasekharan, who had served as chairman for the last two years, was removed and would now serve as vice-chairman.

Deputy Chief Minister (II) Dr P. Ramasamy will take over as the board’s chairman effective April 1.

“The local Indian community, especially the NGOs, demand to know why there was a sudden change and also the reason surrounding the need for the change.

“There are a lot of talks and rumours going around within the community and it is only fair that the Indian community here is told certain things such as who made the decision to change the chairman.

“The present state government emphasises transparency but why was the information kept from the public, especially the Indian community?” he said just before members of several NGOs staged a peaceful protest in Bandar Baru Air Itam on Sunday.

Ahilan was commenting on a recent call made for religious-based NGOs to be given the main task of running the board.

Former Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple committee member M. Gunasegaran, who is also Jalan Udini MIC chairman, said under the previous administration, there was only one politician sitting on the board but now there were five.

“Previously when Barisan Nasional was ruling the state, they questioned why there was a politician sitting on the board but now that they are in power, there are five of them.

“It appears the current state government has converted the board into a political institution,” he said.

Bukit Gelugor Indian Welfare Association chairman K.S. Madhu said the Indian community was not happy with Dr Ramasamy’s appointment as the community needed someone who could devote more time to manage the board’s affairs.

“He is already holding too many positions. Can he devote more time to manage the affairs of the board?

“They should open it up to allow NGOs to run the board as they will have more time to focus on the board’s affairs,” he said.

Dr Ramasamy had said that the call to have NGOs run the board had come up in the past but the board does not need specialised religious bodies to run it as long as it is managed rationally and objectively.

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