BERITA DAILY LETTER: From S Ramakrishnan, via e-mail

It is very unfortunate that a canteen stall operator in Politeknik Seberang Perai (PSP) was denied permission to continue operation just because his stall is non shariah compliant.

The one and only stall catering food out of 12 stalls to non-Muslim students, including vegetarians, need to be shariah compliant is quite baffling.

The stall operator later speaking to media revealed that he and his wife have been asked to convert if his stall permit is to be renewed.

Upon sensing that the news is going viral, the stall operator was told to “keep things quiet” if he wants to renewal permission.

It is amazing to see how narrow and closed minded the bureaucrats under Umno/BN government have become. To enforce a religious edict without fairness, just and equality defeats the very religious purpose.

The high handed handling of this one simple stall matter shows all is not well in the ruling establishment. Is this incident a precursor to more shariah compliance requirement that are forthcoming?

Even in institutions where large numbers of non-Muslims students present face rigid shariah compliance, then what more to say about the predicament of smaller numbers present in other institutions.

The woes will fall in deaf years with all kinds of lame excuses. Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan and MIC are there to given excuses for them.

This is not the only case where the weak minority was quietly denied their rights. Even the only vegetarian stall in the IJN canteen in KL is operated by Muslim operator. The other stalls are all Malay operated.

There was only one Indian stall operating in Tapah R&R along the North-South Highway. But when the owner of the stall passed away, that one stall was given to a Malay operator.

All these show that Indians don’t feature in the Umno policies and plans. Its only for vote bank purpose the Indian Blueprint was scathed.

Kamalanathan was enthusiastic in coming forward to act as a public relation officer for the ministry. He claimed that the canteen operator was terminated from Politeknik Seberang Perai for administrative reasons.

But he failed to disclose what were the administrative reasons. As usual he would claim that six other canteen operators also were denied permit to continue and not this guy alone.

From the incident where students were enclosed in toilet area to have their food during fasting month in 2013 to this canteen operator’s case, the deputy minister acts as a public relation officer to mitigate any negative publicity fallout of ministry of education.

Umno must be very pleased to have this guy as their “public relation” deputy minister. I hope the honorable deputy minister of public relations for education ministry can spell out what shariah compliance these canteen operator have to observe.

Penang MIC Youth has also come forward to support the action Polyteknik Seberang Perai. But the fact remains that stall was denied permission to operate.

It’s clear that MIC is intervening to please and score a brownie point with their Umno masters. With MIC around, Indian community does not need betrayers and enemies.

MIC Youth supports the requirement for halal certificate by Politeknik Seberang Perai to cater food for non-Muslim students is an act of treachery and injustice to their community.

S Ramakrishnan is a former senator

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