Malaysiakini NEWS

Police must act on those who spread religious hatred

P Ramasamy
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | A man was arrested for the alleged criminal intimidation of the Perlis mufti, Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, on a Facebook page. The police have confirmed this. A Hindu group that was vociferous in their criticism of both Asri and Indian preacher Zakir Naik has distanced itself from this ‘intimidation’, saying that its members do not condone such acts.

While the police were quick to act on this criminal intimidation, they have been silent when Asri or Zakir allegedly ridiculing or humiliating Hinduism. Despite the number of police reports, the police remain reluctant to act on these two individuals, for reasons best known to the police themselves.

If similar attacks had been made against the dominant religion, I am sure the police would have pounced and arrested the individuals concerned. My question is, why did the police allow these alleged acts of humiliation against Hindus to continue in the country? Why did the police not act on the numerous police reports made against both Asri and Zakir?

I do not understand why the police, being the guardians of public safety and security, would allow sensitive things to fester for a while, without taking any action. Hundreds of police reports have been made against Asri, but I doubt that the police even took a statement from him. By not taking any action, the police might have inadvertently given the green light for Asri to continue making alleged insulting remarks about Hinduism or, for that matter, any other faiths other than Islam.

But all of a sudden, when someone posted a threat against Asri in a Facebook page, the police sprung to action by arresting the person. Surely, if the police had cautioned Asri or Zakir, things would have been different. Criminal intimidation is wrong and the police should take action if anyone breaks the law on public safety or security. But surely, Asri and Zakir might have crossed the threshold, many times, on what is permissible and what is not.

Malaysia is armed to the teeth when it comes to laws to deal with threats to public order and security. We have the infamous Sedition Act that seems to be focused only the activities of the opposition politicians. But why this Act is not invoked on the likes of Zakir Naik and Asri is unclear...

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