Lex Petros: Losing One's Head in Section 23

Friday, September 04, 2009

Losing One's Head in Section 23

The recent Cow Head incident at the Selangor state secretariat building reminds us again of whether the entrenched right of freedom of worship and religious tolerance in this country has yet to see its full glory.

In a gist, residents of Section 23 in Shah Alam had staged a protest last Friday against the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government’s decision to relocate a 150-year-old temple from Section 19 to their Malay-majority area.

I read the Star's report of the statement made by Ragunath Kesevan, Bar Council President saying "The fact that this is a Muslim-majority area is immaterial and should not, in and of itself, be permitted to serve as adequate basis for rejecting the establishment of a place of worship of any faith". The Bar Council's expressed disappointment at the Federal Government's handling of the issue which seemed to have placed certain blame of the Selangor State Government. The article headlined "Home Minister tells cops to charge cow head protesters".

The Malaysian Insider reported that the Home Minister warned the public of not provoking racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of "One Malaysia", which I believe was said not too long ago. Yet, it seems that the position is that why should any action be taken (or anyone be penalized) if the matter could be resolved and both sides have each other's understanding.

Whatever the position, the law is the law. If the acts of certain quarters have indeed provoked racial or religious sentiments, the consequences of such acts should follow accordingly. Even if such acts are deemed not to be racially provocative, I believe that no permit was given for such a protest. Someone still has to pay for irresponsibility. No exception should be made, for everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. The erosion of the justice system is inevitable if flaunters of the law are allowed to be off the hook. Whoever is responsible has obviously acted in total disrespect of the sentiments of others and against any sense of decency! I can only hope that the prosecution arm of our system of administration of justice will act fairly.

Live in peace and go in peace. Personally, I think we have quite a long way to go.

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