ALOR SETAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has joined scores of leaders in condemning the weekend fracas at Low Yat Plaza.
He said the fighting should not have happened in the first place in a multi-racial society like Malaysia.
"It all began because someone had allegedly stolen a handphone and was arrested for it. He then called on his followers to attack the people who nabbed him.
"Although there might be anger among us, we should not riot. That will shoo everyone away, be it locals or foreigners," he said in a speech at a breaking of fast event at Dewan Seri Mentaloon on Tuesday.
He regretted that the incident took place during the fasting month, saying that fasting was not only about abstaining from eating but other temptations as well.
One of the teachings on fasting is to not follow one's desire, he added.
"Muslims must show everyone that Islam is a religion of peace. We should not stay away from others just because they are embracing other religions.
"They never stop us from performing our duties, including praying and administrating the country.
"Therefore, we should also respect the non-Muslims in their way of praying," he said, adding that everyone must maintain peace and practise consultation in times of trouble.
The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had said that the fights and rioting at Low Yat Plaza over the weekend were not racially motivated but stemmed from a simple theft.