The Allah issue has now literally become a burning issue. We are appalled that extreme elements have resorted to fire bombs to target three churches in the Klang Valley. These are reprehensible and cowardly acts that deserve to be roundly condemned.
Malaysians are disturbed and disillusioned by the lack of a firm stand by the national leadership in putting a stop to the heat and tension that is being deliberately generated by the bigots and zealots in our midst.
Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister had reportedly ”backed the right to protest within mosque grounds”(Malaysian Insider). The PM was quoted in the NST as saying, “As far as possible, we do not want people to protest, but we cannot stop them from doing so if they gather at mosques and if confined to a certain area.”
This may have been taken by some as a tacit go-ahead signal. Knowing how volatile the Allah issue had become, it was the height of irresponsibility to take such a stand. This stand did not pay any attention to national security, our peace and harmony – favourite catch phrases – which are commonly used to justify detentions of those demonstrating against the government or their policies. In the name of national security, our peace and harmony, water cannons had been used in the past to disperse crowds, make arrests and brutally beat up demonstrating Malaysians gathered in or near mosques and temples.
But in this instance, no harsh instructions or stern warnings were given to discourage certain people from turning this political issue into an explosive one.
The talk around town suggests that certain quarters were desperate to win back lost Malay support and were therefore fanning this issue for selfish reasons.
We call upon the PM and the Home Minister to take a public stand and condemn acts and deeds that are not in keeping with the principles of Rukun Negara. In this most volatile period, it must be the national interest that should be paramount and must prevail.
Malaysians too must stand up for tolerance and respect for our differences as well as for the rule of law. We must isolate these un-Malaysian bigots, who are a small minority.
Aliran Executive Committee
8 January 2010