‘Sorry’ not enough, Penang reps demand action against Islamic teacher


(Malay Mail Online) – Despite a public apology, Penang MIC and DAP’s P.Ramasamy (pic) want the authorities to book Islamic religious teacher Shahul Hamid for his curry powder jibe, which they say signals a deeper intolerance of minority groups in Malaysia.

“What he said has angered Hindus all over Malaysia so even though he has apologised and it’s good he realised his error to say sorry, but it’s not enough,” M.Karuppanan, state MIC chief, told a news conference here, hours after Shahul issued a public apology for his remarks seen as ridiculing Hinduism and ethnic Indians.

A video clip of Shahul’s speech, in which he told Muslims not to buy curry powder from “Hindu companies” such as Alagappa’s and Baba’s was uploaded to social media sites recently, provoking fury from the minority communities.

“If you go to the Alagappa’s factory near Permatang Pauh, you will see a statue at the entrance, and the tongue is out. Why is the tongue out? Because the goddess must taste all the curry powder before they sell it,” the preacher was heard saying in the video.

Shahul had posted a short apology on his Facebook yesterday following the uproar.

Karuppanan said Shahul’s remarks were not only seditious but could incite racial disharmony.

“That was not the only clip. There was also another clip where he made even more serious damage where he accused Hindus of not having a God,” he said.

Karuppanan said Shahul’s argument, that his speech was for Muslims, was not a defence as the latter had clearly insulted Indians and Hindus.

“You can’t say something and then apologise as if nothing happened when the damage is already done. Otherwise, I can just kill someone and apologise,” he said.

He reminded Shahul that he did not only insult one person whom he could apologise to and try to make amends but that he had insulted up to a million people of the Hindu faith.

“Even the non-Hindus, the Muslims and Christians are unhappy about this because such things are unacceptable in our society.

“I hope the Attorney-General takes action immediately,” he said.

The MIC leader also urged curry powder makers Alagappa’s and Baba’s to initiate legal action against Shahul, saying the latter’s remarks could be deemed defamatory.

“These companies are halal-certified, so he did not only insult the Hindus but also questioned the halal-certification of these companies,” Karuppanan said.

Indian Malaysians and Hindus took to social media this week condemning the Islamic religious teacher for his speech about their communities made several years ago but which surfaced recently.

A group of MIC members held a demonstration in the Kuala Lumpur Indian enclave of Brickfields yesterday in protest.

In a separate news conference, Ramasamy who is Penang deputy minister II, also demanded strict action against Shahul.

Echoing Karuppanan, the DAP lawmaker said Shahul’s apology was not enough.

The Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman said there have been cases of insults against Hindus in the last five to six years without any action taken against the perpetrators.

“He should be expelled from PAS. We can’t allow religious preachers to insult other religions,” Ramasamy said.