KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's lawmakers, setting aside their political differences, have come together to call for an emergency motion to debate the incident over a Hindu temple in a suburb of Petaling Jaya.
This followed Monday's demand by four ministers and a deputy minister for a full and independent police inquiry to identify the culprits behind the violence at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Subang Jaya, in the state of Selangor.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P. Waytha Moorthy, reading from a joint statement on Monday, said those responsible for the violence must be punished.
"This investigation should be conducted by Bukit Aman and not left to the Subang Jaya police to handle," he said during a media conference at the Parliament lobby, referring to the police headquarters in Bukit Aman.
The other ministers behind the joint statement were Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar, and Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
The deputy minister who was behind the statement was Mr Sivarasa Rasiah, who is in charge of rural development.
Mr Waytha Moorthy, who is in charge of national unity, visited the temple with Mr Kulasegaran yesterday.
The two ministers were criticised by several supporters of the temple for not showing up sooner.
Mr P. Waytha Moorthy added that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was very concerned about the issue.
Mr Waytha Moorthy said yesterday during a media conference at the temple: "We have spoken to the temple task force members and we hear your concerns.
"We will bring your concerns and demands to the Prime Minister."
Mr Waytha Moorthy added that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was very concerned about the issue.
"The federal government guarantees that the temple will not be demolished until the matter is properly resolved," he said.
"We will be discussing this matter at the highest level, as well as with the Attorney-General and the Selangor Menteri Besar to resolve the issue amicably."
Mr Waytha Moorthy also noted that the incident, which was not racially motivated, has caused some racial tension.
"We urge everyone to stay calm and remain peaceful in this harmonious country of ours," he said.
Mr Kulasegaran pointed out that the issue is something that is faced by more than a hundred temples nationwide.
"We, the Pakatan Harapan government, are working very hard to resolve the matter in a consistent and fair manner."
Monday's incident is believed to have been triggered by the fracas between two opposing groups over the relocation of the temple.
Yesterday, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil said that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan lawmakers have submitted a motion to Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof for the issue to be brought up for debate in the current Parliament session.
"We stand here in solidarity as we believe we need to come together to discuss the issue in a harmonious manner and move forward," Datuk Mohamad Ariff said during the media conference held in Parliament.
Mr Fahmi, who is from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said that time may be allocated tomorrow for debates to take place.
Barisan stalwart Noh Omar, an MP for Tanjong Karang, added: "We should not politicise the issue and remain united as we share a multiracial society. Let's not have any provocative elements adding fuel to the flames.
"Because if it burns out of control, everyone will be hurt."
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA