The Malaysian Insider yesterday, in a report by Elizabeth Zachariah and headlined “Malaysia no longer land of peace and tolerance, says Pakistan website”, is an indictment and stain on the efficiency, professionalism and career of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar .
This follows weeks and months of incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tensions with the police adopting a “hands-off” policy, resulting in the Molotov cocktail attack on a church in Penang on Monday, a day after three provocative banner “Allah is Great. Jesus is the son of Allah” was hung outside five churches in Penang without knowledge of the church authorities and the vandalism of eight gravestones in a Christian cemetery near Kuantan yesterday.
As the writer of the Pakistani website, Masood Khan, said: For the rest of the Muslim world, Malaysia used to be an island of peace and tolerance.
“Sadly, it’s no more as an evil eye has cast its bad shadow on a moderate and progressive country”.
As IGP, Khalid should ask himself why he had been so remiss in his duties and responsibilities as the No.1 Policeman the country to allow Malaysia to slide down the slippery slope, as if Malaysia wants to compete with Pakistan in terms of religious strife, intolerance and conflict!
Khalid must always remind himself that he is IGP for all Malaysians, and not just IGP for any one race or religion, and any divergence from this guiding principle amounts to criminal negligence of his high office.
I am glad that the IGP has finally spoken up after maintaining an long eerie silence, issuing a “strict warning” yesterday to those responsible for the incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension “to immediately stop such provocations which can jeopardise public order”.
The more relevant question is why the IGP had taken so long to wake up to the racial and religious “provocations” of a small group of irresponsible and reckless traitors out to destabilsie the country and cause another May 13.
It is however better late than never and all Malaysians hope the IGP and the police will on constant standby to prevent the conspirators who want Malaysia go up in flames in a racial and religious conflagaration would be stopped in their tracks and be given no space or room to carry out their nefarious and treacherous activities.
The problem in Malaysia is not that the IGP and the police lack the police numbers and firepower to keep these conspirators under the radar 24 hours a day and to nip in the bud their nefarious plans, but purely because the police lack the political will and mandate to discharge their first duty – to keep the country and citizens safe and secure.
Prompt and proactive police action to nip trouble-makers in the bud to send a clear signal to those who want to incite racial and religious hatred, conflict and tensions based on lies and falsehoods that the police would brook no nonsense from them could do wonders.
This is illustrated by the pro-active and most commendable police action in Penang which investigated a group of about 150 people from NGOs that protested at the Bayan Baru mosque on Monday night, on the ground that they suspected that the mosque may be attacked – when the police dismissed talk there were plans by certain quarters to attack the mosque.
This is not unlike the Penang UMNO protest a week ago raising the spectre of May 13 when its blood-red banners screamed that the DAP was the cause of May 13 with speakers asking whether DAP wanted another May 13.
This is just like the “Thief shout Thief” ploy to blame others for a crime or wrong when the person concerned was the perpetrator himself.
Muslims in Penang and Malaysia can be assured that if mosques and suraus are attacked, non-Muslim whether Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs or Taoists will come to their defence. In the same manner, if non-Muslim places of worship are attacked, Muslims should be in the forefront of their defence.
If we can arrive at such an understanding and concord in multi-religious Malaysia, it will be a big step forward in promoting harmony, unity and tolerance in the achievement of a Malaysian Dream.
Recently, there had been proposals that the Police set up a shariah unit or even squad to check prices.
The Police should not divert from its main duty to keep crime low and Malaysian citizens, investors and tourists safe and secure; and most of all, ensure the Malaysia regain her international reputation as a “land of peace and tolerance” and a model in a conflict-filled world.