KUALA LUMPUR: The maturity of Malaysians and the Government’s commitment to keep the country peaceful and harmonious have averted a major religious catastrophe.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the recent church attacks could have gotten out of hand if no pre-emptive measures had been taken by the Government.
“I believe that no unwanted incident will occur due to the maturity of the people, including those who organised the demonstrations (at mosques on Friday). It was within mosque compounds, in a peaceful and disciplined manner, and the gathering period was brief,” he said.
On the arson attack at the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) church in Seremban yesterday, Hishammuddin said it was not a serious incident.
“Alhamdullilah, I can report that there are no serious incidents. I was told that the front door of the (SIB) church was splashed with petrol and only the door was damaged.
“It relieves me that we went through Friday prayers (with no untoward incident) and I am thankful that Sunday services went on smoothly.”
Hishammuddin pledged to continue monitoring the situation.
“We have evidence to identify certain suspects. It is still under investigation, so I cannot reveal it,” he told reporters before inspecting the Puduraya area yesterday to get a first-hand account of how well the police volunteer reserve are working with the police and to identify and solve any problems.
Hishammuddin, however, seemed incensed when a reporter remarked that the Government’s handling of the issue was too passive.
He said the statement was, “totally unfair”.
“It could have been a lot worse if no pre-emptive measures had been taken,” he said.
In Putrajaya, Bernama reports that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom has urged church leaders to adopt the same approach by a Sabah leader who urged Christians to drop the claim to use the word ‘Allah’.
He said this would help maintain peace and security and ease tension.
The Malaysian Justice of the Peace Council president Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun said Christians in Malaysia should not follow those in Indonesia in using ‘Allah’.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Information, Communi-cations, Culture and Arts Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) was currently monitoring and identifying languages used in SMS that can threaten national security.
Dr Rais, who launched Permata Seni, a new arts-based programme under Permata Negara, at the Malaysian Tourism Centre here yesterday, said the country’s image had dipped slightly after the arson attacks.
Related Stories: Najib and Muhyiddin allay foreigners’ fears Put country’s safety above politics, says Zambry Groups: Hold unity talks to calm situation SIB church in Seremban the latest victim of arson attack Cops probe posting by ‘witness’ Verify SMS claims with us, say police