Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Najib calls for calm in wake of attack on Penang church

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has appealed for calm following the Molotov cocktail attack on the Church of the Assumption in Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang, today.

He said he has directed action be taken to prevent provocative acts that may affect race relations.

"I've always said that, as a government, we should place importance on peace and harmony, and that we will do our best to maintain it based on the rule of law.
"It is time for us to stay calm and not to act rashly in any situation as this will be detrimental to the nation," he said after attending a book launch on maps of Malaya and Borneo here today.

The prime minister said the authorities should be left to conduct investigations into the 1.30am incident where two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the church compound, with one hitting a shrine, causing a small fire, while the other fell harmlessly.

The attack came after provocative banners were found put up outside five churches in Penang – Lutheran Church of Victory, St John Britto Catholic Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception and Church of the Assumption on the island, and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Butterworth.

No one was injured in the 1.30am incident at the church located near Penang's "harmony street", where a mosque, temple and church stand close to each other.

Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the church caretaker alerted the police and managed to put out the small fire caused by Molotov cocktail.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed two men fleeing the scene following the attack.

Abdul Rahim said police were trying to establish their identities as well as hunting for them.

"We view this matter seriously," he told a press conference today where he urged those with information about the matter to contact the police.

In Penang, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and a group of state executive councillors visited the church, with Lim saying that the state government stands in solidarity with churches here.

He called on the people to stand united against racist and extremist groups.

Lim said Abdul Rahim had promised that some 250 additional policemen will be patrolling places of worship around the state to ensure security.
"The Penang state government will continue to work with all parties and the police to preserve public order and security," he said.

City Parish Priest Father Dominic Santhiyagu, who was present at the church, said the petrol bomb attack and the provocative banners were unprecedented.

He advised the public to stay calm over the incident, adding that the church had always preached peace and love of one another.

Meanwhile, Christian leaders called on the community to stay calm with Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng saying that such acts should be condemned.

His view was echoed by Council of Churches Malaysia secretary-general Rev Dr Hermen Shahstri called for vigilance among Christians in the wake of such irresponsible acts.
Source : Sun Daily

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