Dr Mahathir said that the riot at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, which started early Monday (Nov 26) morning, was not just a protest.
"Although we want to be liberal and allow for demonstrations, but trying to kill is not a demonstration. It is attempted murder," he said after visiting critically injured fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim at the National Heart Institute (IJN) on Wednesday (Nov 28).
"Without modern medical assistance, he would be dead by now. That is murder," he added.
He said that the temple committee should have alerted the police when the thugs trespassed on temple grounds.
"They should have alerted police that individuals were trespassing on temple grounds, but they didn't.
"Instead they took matters into their own hands, which led to the riot," he added.
The decision on the temple will be announced at Parliament tomorrow (Nov 29), he said.
The temple in USJ 25 has been the scene of trouble following a court order to relocate.
On Monday (Nov 26), two groups clashed at the temple, resulting in multiple injuries and 18 vehicles torched.
That same night, rioters set more cars on fire and caused property damage to One City Mall.
Muhammad Adib was part of a team of nine firemen responding to a fire at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, where rioters were protesting the temple's relocation.
In the incident, rioters forcefully dragged him out of his vehicle and attacked him causing him to sustain broken ribs, punctured lungs and other internal injuries.