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LETTER | Those fanning flames on sock-gate must face the law

LETTER | We refer to the statement yesterday by Criminal Investigations Department director Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, who urged everyone including politicians to not incite racial sentiments regarding the issue of socks bearing the word “Allah” and that they do not want “Kampung Medan”-type events.

This statement comes late in the day. For weeks, statements of an inciting and inflammatory nature were made by politicians with little reaction from the authorities.

Eventually, this resulted in an attempted petrol bomb attack at a KK Mart store.

The public and businesses were also put in fear due to the artificial ratcheting up of tensions by politicians.

The entire debate over the socks was pointless, superfluous, and dangerous. No reasonable person in this country thinks that this incident was anything but a supply error on the part of the business implicated.

Having called for calm, are the police going to do the right thing and probe those who created the tense situation by framing the issue as an attack on Islam? Or will the culprits who turned the country upside down for a fortnight get away with it?

It is public knowledge that a key person responsible for the build-up of tension was Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, who was relentless in playing up the issue, even after the business had made public apologies and criminal charges had been brought against them. There may be others involved as well.

It is dangerous to let politicians baselessly carry on the narrative that Islam is under attack. These kinds of statements from persons who have political standing and influence can have far-reaching impacts on public order and tranquillity.

In our country, there is a long history of politicians using religious or racial issues for political gain. Aren’t we all sick of it? Will the Pakatan Harapan-led Madani government tolerate this, just like previous governments did?

We are a nation of laws and the rule of law must prevail. All those who incited or instigated the public must face the full force of the law. It does not matter if the person responsible comes from a government political party, all responsible must face the law.

Potential offences have been committed under Section 505 (b) and (c) of the Penal Code for making statements that can cause fear or alarm to any section of the public and cause disturbance against public order or which incites one community against another community.

Action must be taken to prevent a recurrence of the events of the past weeks and to demonstrate that no one is above the law. The nation cannot move past this issue unless those responsible face justice.

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