The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) is deeply saddened and disturbed by the tragic events of this morning – the burning of Metro Tabernacle and the attempted burning of Assumption Church and Life Chapel.
These criminal and religiously motivated incidents mark a low point in our nation’s history where houses of worship are violently attacked and desecrated.
This is a troubling trend that started with the ‘cow head’ protest where religious sensitivities of the various communities are ignored and issues of religion are not discussed openly. The strong dissenting voices and misguided violent actions indicate disagreement and points to the dire
need of readdressing the issue in a civilised fashion to ensure the preservation of freedom of religion.
Mature and open discussion should be encouraged at all times in the spirit of ‘1Malaysia’ to ensure such doubts, confusion and disagreement does not again arise. This provides an opportunity and a challenge to the government to show their commitment to national unity and ‘1Malaysia’ as lessons are to be learned from this depressing situation.
The CPPS calls for greater understanding over our cultural and religious differences and recommends the following. The government should:
1. Ensure the culprits are brought to book as a matter of urgency.
2. Show zero tolerance to extremists and extremist acts that cause terror.
3. Ensure that its intelligence system is straightened out to fight extremism and terrorism to ensure such incidence would not recur in our country.
4. Apply the rule of law with equity and fairness to all, and
5. Accord greater priority to religious freedom and fundamental rights as guaranteed in our federal constitution and the Rukunegara, along with the ‘1Malaysia’ initiative, to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the government and the nation.
The writer is chairperson, Centre for Public Policy Studies.