Wednesday, June 16

Culprits must be brought to justice: SAPP


KOTA KINABALU: The culprits involved in the recent church bombings must be brought to justice as soon as possible, said SAPP president Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee.

“Justice done will repair, even if to a limited extent, the deep fractures inflicted on Malaysian society by such cowardly actions,” he said yesterday.

The former chief minister cautioned that the event was a dangerous polarisation that was spreading to a wider section of Malaysian society.

He said ordinary people who were not deeply involved in religious matters had suddenly become agitated by the incidents.

According to him, the people would expect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurances that those responsible would be brought to justice bear results without any delay.

The police force should have by now identified the prime suspects and their motives to commit such crime, Yong said in a statement.

“Are the culprits part of a wider conspiracy? Are they pockets of “lost command” who no longer take orders from their leaders? Or are they mere opportunists who want to create chaos in Malaysia to fulfill their hidden agenda?

“The timing and modus operandi of the three fire-bombing incidents suggests that there is some similarity in the thoughts of the culprits.

“Are the culprits the by-products of a racially and religiously divided society? The incidents are an indictment of a country that institutionalises racial and religious politics,” he said.

Yong said the event was a wake-up call and reckoned that the country’s leaders must rethink the existing compartmentalisation of the political system along racial and religious lines.

“The government and the police force must prevent any ‘copycat fire-bombers’ the idea of which might be germinating in the minds of some trouble-makers.

This burden falls heavily on the shoulders of the prime minister, his cabinet and his government.

“Rightly or wrongly, many people point their fingers in the direction of the government leadership,” he added.

Yong said it was sad to note newspaper reports that said the government could not stop the Muslims from holding demonstration in protest of the High Court’s judgement in allowing the Catholic weekly magazine Herald to use the word ‘Allah’ in its publication.

“Inadvertently, these images and head lines have sent wrong signals to the people, including opportunists and extremists who desire chaos and violence.

“Sabah is still relatively free of racial and religious tensions. Our harmony is something that Sabahans are proud of. We should resist the importation of racial and religious extremism from entering our society,” Yong added.