The Malaysian authorities have called for calm and urged the public not to take matters into their own hands, amid growing worries of racial tension after a firefighter died from injuries from an alleged attack during last month’s riots at a Hindu temple.
“The people must not act on their own without going through the security agencies especially the police,” Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu told Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday.
“Whoever commits a crime, the police must act firmly and swiftly according to the SOP in place,” he added.
In a statement, Malaysian police chief Mohd Fuzi Harun called on the public not to incite religious and racial sensitivities.
“To prevent the outbreak of any public disorder in this multiracial society, the Royal Malaysian Police would like to advise everyone not to act in any way that can incite racial or religious sensitivities following the riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Seafield, Subang Jaya last November,” he said.
“The Royal Malaysian Police will continue to take all necessary security measures to ensure the safety of all,” Mr Fuzi added.
Fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim died on Monday night after sustaining severe injuries during riots at the temple in Selangor on Nov 27.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Siti Hasmah, paid their respects to the fallen firefighter before his body was flown to his hometown in Kedah for burial on Tuesday.
Muhammad Adib received a posthumous promotion. Police were out in full force to secure the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple following the fireman’s death.
Some Malaysians have taken to social media to vent their anger. On Tuesday, a group calling itself the Malaysian People Movement (GERAS) called for people to attend a “peaceful gathering” at the Klang Royal Mosque and Arts Square on Dec 25, to seek justice for the firefighter’s death.
The post was shared more than 3,800 times and drew angry comments.
Facebook user Sabirin Ahmad wrote: “Come, all Malays, let’s all go down to the streets in big numbers. Don’t just talk here on FB.”
“We’ve had enough with Malays having to give in all the time … We’ve lost our patience. Malays must rise,” added Haszairul Hashim, another Facebook user.
GERAS also called for Minister of National Unity and Social Well-being Waytha Moorthy to resign, blaming him for the temple fracas which resulted in Muhammad Adib’s death.
Mr Moorthy was among a group of ministers who publicly blamed the police for failing to keep order. He was accused of fuelling unrest on the ground that allegedly led to the attack on the fireman.