PETALING JAYA: Preliminary investigations into the Sri Maha Mariamman temple riots indicate the presence of criminal elements, says the Prime Minister, pledging that they would be brought to justice.
“The criminals who tried to create disturbances and injured our security and rescue personnel, as well as damaged public property, will face stern action according to the law.
“And if there are puppet masters behind these incidents, they too will not escape from receiving appropriate punishment,” said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a statement issued from his office on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister added that he had been following the developments of the temple riots since Monday, and said there was no racial or religious issue involved, although the protests were related to the temple’s relocation from USJ25 to USJ23 in Subang Jaya.
“As they (the riots) are criminally-related, the police have been ordered to take further action to handle and control the situation as soon as possible.
“The government also regrets the irresponsible actions of criminals who have caused chaos in the temple area, and injured security and rescue personnel," said Dr Mahathir.
A scuffle broke out between two rival groups at the temple early Monday.
The incident is believed to have been sparked by the fracas between two opposing groups over the relocation of the temple.
Early Tuesday, a group who had congregated at the temple turned rowdy when they smashed glass panels at the One City Mall.
The Selangor police said 21 people have been arrested so far over the fracas.