Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 21st January 2010:
Call on all Malaysians to condemn the two arson attacks on two suraus in Muar this morning and a halt to the spiral of madness since Jan 8
Two suraus in Muar were targets of arson in the early hours of this morning –Surau Silaturrahim at Kg Sabak Awor (Jalan Ibrahim) and the Parit Beting Surau, both in the Bentayan state assembly constituency in Johore.
Gwee Tong Hiang, who visited both suraus, reported that the Parit Beting surau suffered more extensive damage.
All Malaysians regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or region must condemn these two surau arson attacks in Muar in the strongest possible terms and to demand a halt to the spiral of madness since January 8.
In the past two weeks, nine churches, one mosque, three suraus, one Sikh temple and one convent school have been damaged by fire, paint or stones in the wake of the Dec. 31 Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment that allowed the Catholic weekly Herald to use the term “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
Many Malaysians are dismayed by the conduct of the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as he is blamed not only for allowing the situation to get out of hand in his initial announcement that the government would not stop protest and demonstrations on sensitive religious issues against the Dec. 31 KL High Court judgment, he has also failed to deliver his assurance that “the situation is under control” which had been repeatedly marred by the spate of arson and vandalism of places of worship in various states.
Malaysians are also dismayed that at this important period, Hishammuddin, together with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had been out of the country.
With the latest spate of arson against the two suraus in Muar, the time has come for more proactive response so that the country does not continue to suffer adverse international publicity detrimental to the national effort to attract foreign investors, tourists and students.
Najib, who is currently on an official visit to India, should give the “green light” for the convening of all-party all-religion conferences to take united action from national to state and local levels to rally the unity of all Malaysians regardless of race, religion and politics to protect all places of worship and restore national and international confidence in the inter-religious understanding, tolerance, harmony and peace in Malaysia.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor