PETALING JAYA • Four men were charged yesterday in a Malaysian magistrate's court with rioting and using dangerous weapons over the relocation of a temple in Subang Jaya in Selangor state.
The four - Muhammad Ridzuan Sekh Ruslan, 26; Irwan Nordin, 38; Mohd Khairi Abd Rashid, 24; and Rozaihan Jamaludin, 38 - claimed trial before magistrate Nor Ariffin Hisham. They were the first to be charged in connection with the incident that raised religious tension in Malaysia.
They were charged, together with several others still at large, with being present during the riot and being in possession of weapons such as axes and machetes.
The offences were allegedly committed at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Nov 26, between 2am and 5am. The charges, under Section 148 of the Penal Code, carry a maximum of five years in prison, a fine or both upon conviction.
The magistrate set bail of RM10,000 (S$3,300) in one surety each. He also ordered the four men to report to the nearest police station once a month and to surrender their passports pending disposal of the case.
The court set Jan 17 for the next mention of the case.
Malaysian police said 83 people have been nabbed as part of investigations into the rioting.
The authorities have repeatedly said the violence at the temple site, with 20 vehicles burnt and a fireman seriously injured after being attacked by a mob, was not related to issues linked to race and religion, but was caused by a dispute over the temple's relocation between its management committee and the owner of the land.
In the Nov 26 incident, some 50 men were reported to have stormed the temple and later fought with temple devotees.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK