Malaysiakini Letter

Second night of temple fracas could have been prevented

Simon Lim Seng Chai, Cenbet  |  Published:  | 

LETTER | The second night of violence at the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam Seafield Hindu temple is attributed to lapses by the police and failure of politicians to calm heightened tension among their followers.

The police should have cordoned off the area surrounding the temple after the first night of violence, to prevent the recurrence of mob rule.

Further, a stronger police presence there would have prevented things from getting out of hand, for the second consecutive night.

But these were not done, resulting in chaos, including the unfortunate and unnecessary injuries sustained by fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim in the hands of mobsters. 

No public servant should be denied of carrying out their duties, much less by those out to cause violence. We condemn the violence against Muhammad Adib in the strongest possible term and call on the police to urgently arrest the perpetrators.

Politicians are also to be blamed for raising the temperature. When a group of senior politicians chided the Subang Jaya police, they had knowingly or otherwise, emboldened those who were already carried away by sentiments. 

Politicians should have worked with the police and the temple dispute parties to resolve the problem and lower the political temperature, not add fuel to the fire.

These lapses couldn't have come at a worse time. Racial-religious tension has again climbed, following the government's decision not to ratify Icerd, and the slew of provocative statements, including those made by the former deputy prime minister, a current minister and several heads of NGOs.

Such lapses allow extremists to harvest discontent and sow further discord, to the detriment of nation-building. This goes against moderation which Cenbet (Centre for a Better Tomorrow) promotes.

We call on the authorities to use the full force of the law in combating such undesirable elements and everyone to support efforts to maintain law and order.


The writer is the vice-president of Cenbet, a senior lawyer and former political secretary to an ex-minister. Cenbet promotes moderation and good governance – two elements it believes is central to building the foundation to a better tomorrow.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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