Taman Medan, a time bomb waiting to explode


The community, where cross incident took place last Sunday, is vulnerable to political instigation.

Lin KayKay, Free Malaysia Today

The real issue in Taman Medan, thrust into international news since last Sunday for all the wrong reasons following the cross incident, is its disconnection from the mainstream just a stone’s throw away in affluent Petaling Jaya and ironically “enjoying” a view of the Petronas Twin Towers in the tourist district of Kuala Lumpur.

That’s the consensus of various experts making their way into the social media from regular media. “Taman Medan was a time bomb waiting to explode again. This is a hotbed of crime.”

The experts are surprised that Abdullah, the elder brother of Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, lives in the area as a village elder. Taman Medan assemblyperson Haniza Mohamad Talha is among those who have chipped in with their views. “The people in Taman Medan are highly vulnerable, easy targets for any politician seeking to stir up racial and religious emotions for political capital.”

She implied that was what happened on Sunday in the cross incident.

The Pastor of the Community of Praise Church in Taman Medan brought down the cross displayed high up outside his premises after he felt reportedly intimidated in the face of threats by a crowd of 50 protesters. They interrupted his Sunday service at about 10am and reportedly told him that the cross being on display was a challenge to their faith, Islam.

They, Abdullah being among them in the later stages of the incident, wanted the cross brought down, failing which they would do it themselves.

Taman Medan, home to 40,000 Indians and Malays, is an urban cesspool of humanity marked by low-incomes, hardcore poverty and over-crowding. “This is a breeding ground for intolerance,” the experts all agree. “Low-cost government subsidised flats and squatter shacks sit side by side in the 80 per cent Malay-majority area.”

In 2001, the area was the scene of deadly clashes when illegal immigrants reportedly from Madura, Indonesia, set upon their Indian neighbours. Six people died in the incident.

Denison Jayasooria, principal research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, sees religion being used for political reasons in Taman Medan. “Many local issues are not being resolved.”

He did not blame the Selangor government, helmed by the Pakatan Rakyat since 2008. “The problems had always been there.”