“They are not getting off scot-free. They felt victimised and feel that there is another valid explanation on their part. There was no intention on their part to cause racial divide. They, the organisers, who are sitting left and right of me, didn’t even know that somebody was going to bring the head of the cow during that demonstration.”
We, the undersigned organisations, condemn Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for defending the cow-head protesters and justifying their incitement of violence and hatred. He should now resign or be sacked as home minister as he cannot commit to law and order.
The most important issue in the cow-head incident is the threat of violence against the Shah Alam Hindu community and the Selangor government. The police must investigate not based on the vaguely defined Sedition Act, but on whether the protesters threatened bloodshed if the temple relocation was carried out. The lame excuse that the cow head was brought by unknown persons is completely irrelevant.
Nobody must be allowed to threaten with violence just because they feel “victimised”. Anyone who does so must be punished by law. Otherwise, society would sink into anarchy.
By suggesting that “if it can be resolved quickly and can be done with both sides understanding each other … why would we want to penalise anybody?”, Hishammuddin is actually encouraging the threat of violence as a means to negotiate.
A home minister by portfolio and a lawyer by training, Hishammuddin has brought both his office and profession to unprecedented shame with his disregard for the law. Because he has turned the minister of law and order into the minister against law and order, he must resign or be sacked.
The prime minister must now act boldly to keep his 28 Aug 2009 promise that action will be taken against the perpetrators who incited violence. If the police refuse to investigate them and the deputy public prosecutor refuses to charge them for violence, Malaysians will believe that such threats of violence are condoned by the Datuk Seri Najib Razak administration as a political means.
Hishammuddin’s justification of the cow-head protest by painting the perpetrators as victims also legitimises and indirectly encourages communal hatred. This can be explosive if it results in retaliating insults across communities, as all can claim to feeling victimised. By sympathising with the perpetrators, Hishammuddin is also tarnishing Malaysia’s image by demonstrating that Malaysian ministers legitimise hatred.
This is most unfortunate when over 70 civil society groups representing different ethno-religious communities and sectors have issued a joint Merdeka message calling all Malaysians to delegitimise violence and hatred.
* Civil Right Committee, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
* People’s Parliament
* Civil Society Committee, LLG Cultural Development Centre
* Centre for Policy Initiatives
* Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
* The Micah Mandate
* Writer Alliance for Media Independence
* Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform
* Justice for Beng Hock Facebook Group
* Centre for Independent Journalism
* Suara Rakyat Malaysia
* All Women’s Action Society Malaysia (Awam)
* Image Group
* Council of Malaysian Indian Trustee
* Persatuan Kebajikan Wawasan Cahaya Selangor
* Persatuan Bharatham Negeri Selangor
* Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (Dema)
* Editorial board of Horizon e-journal
* Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia
* Sisters in Islam