Speak up, Malaysians!

By Teresa Kok, DAP MP for Seputeh and DAP National Vice Chairperson

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Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar certainly erred when he said yesterday that Sunday’s church protest in Taman Medan was not against Christianity, but the location of the church in a largely Malay-Muslim neighborhood.

How could it not be about religion when the protestors demanded that the cross be removed?

Khalid’s statement is therefore most baffling and unacceptable.

Since the Home Minister Zahid Hamidi has openly contradicted him and said that the protest was seditious, the IGP must not defend what is indefensible and must take immediate action against the protestors.

Malaysia is a multi-racial, mulit-religious nation where mutual respect and tolerance must always prevail and the constitutional rights of freedom of religion of all must be protected.

On July 17 last year, Malaysiakini reported that a Nezha deity statue standing more than 10 metres tall at a temple in Kampung Tembioh, Johor, was taken down on July 16 , after concerns raised by Kota Tinggi Umno Youth who reportedly said it was due to the temple’s proximity to a surau located 50 metres away.

Although the temple chairman admitted the temple did not apply for approval from the local authorities to build the statue which had cost them RM 500,000 to ship from China, what should be noted is the ground of objection by the Umno youth.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib has talked much about moderation, yet it is sad that we have incidents that  a church cross must be removed because it is being deemed sensitive in a majority Muslim neighbourhood and a deity statue was deemed unsuitable because it is 50 metres from a surau.

Anyone who has been to Jalan Tukang Emas and Jalan Tokong Melaka will see that Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, Kg Kling Mosque and Cheng Hoon Teng temple are located not far from each other  and there has been no issue at all .

It is heartening to see Malaysians, especially Muslim individuals and groups, speaking up against the intolerant behavior of the church protestors.

More Malaysians must speak up and let the Taman Medan church know that they won’t be alone in defending their right to practice their religion.

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