Temple row: Mahathir says Malaysian government won't allow mockery of national harmony, peace

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will also present a motion in the House to explain the facts on the temple fracas on Nov 29.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will also present a motion in the House to explain the facts on the temple fracas on Nov 29.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

PETALING JAYA (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Nov 29) stressed that the government will ensure that no one makes a mockery of national harmony and peace.

Tun Mahathir said the government will not tolerate such acts, and warned that action will be taken according to the law to ensure that they do not happen.

"If anyone violates the laws for their own interests, this government, which upholds the principle of the rule of law, will act in accordance with the law," he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir had indicated that the Malaysian Parliament will pass a new resolution that no houses of worship can be built without the consent of the local councils.

This is to avoid any future land disputes such as the one which led to the fracas at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Monday.

After chairing a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia meeting here on Wednesday, Dr Mahathir said: "Temples are being built anywhere, on land that does not belong to the temple owner."

"The government will pass a resolution and make it a condition that houses of worship cannot be built without the permission of the local authorities. Temples are now being built without regard for the landowner and when the owner wants the land back, there is a problem."

Petaling Jaya City councillor Derek Fernandes said this new resolution may mean that the Prime Minister, as chairman of the National Physical Planning Council, can now direct that all houses of worship, no matter how small, must be incorporated and recognised on the masterplan of any land. All menteri besars and chief ministers sit on the council.

 
 
 

Dr Mahathir said the government could not interfere in the court case involving the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.

He described the alleged attack by rioters on fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim as "attempted murder".

He said the rioters did not only want to protest, but wanted to cause harm as well.

"We can demonstrate, but it should be peaceful. This was not a demonstration. This was something to kill people. They came with parang and all (kinds of) weapons. You can see that the perpetrators were doing it with the intention to kill," he said

"Here, the damage was such that a little bit more and he (Muhammad Adib) would have been dead. And if he was dead, the charge would be murder," he said after visiting the injured fireman at the National Heart Institute (IJN) on Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir said the authorities were working hard to find the culprits who had attacked Mr Muhammad Adib.

He also said the temple committee should have alerted the police when the thugs trespassed on the temple grounds.

On Mr Muhammad Adib's condition, the Prime Minister said the firefighter's heart, lungs and kidneys were still functioning, thanks to the expertise of the doctors at IJN.