IPOH: Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has lambasted the action of a protester who tore down a banner wishing people a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year outside the Perak DAP headquarters on Friday.
The Bagan Datoh MP said the incident should not have happened as the people of this country respected and practised freedom of religion.
“We should respect other faiths. I have been consistent in my view that if we want our religion to be respected, we must also respect others,” he said after launching the Home Ministry’s Outreach Programme at Mydin Hypermarket in Meru Raya here yesterday.
“I am sure if someone were to do that to us, we will be angry too,” he said.
On Friday, a protester, believed to be from Perkasa, pulled down the banner outside the state DAP headquarters during a demonstration.
The demonstration was held in protest over Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s remark that non-Muslims in Penang could use the word “Allah”.
The same protester also tried to pull Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Ong Boon Piow by the arm and told him to send Lim a message – “Malaysia is not China”.
Meanwhile, Perak MCA Youth chief Ting Tai Fook said it was unlawful to damage private property.
“As citizens, we must all abide by the law. We must all be mature and rational as incidents like this can tarnish the country’s image,” he said.
Ting said Perkasa must come up with a set of policies on ethics or code of conduct for its members.
“We should not encourage people to act violently,” he added.
Perak DAP adviser Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham also condemned the violent nature of the protest.
“We respect the freedom of expression but it must follow the law,” he said.
Ngeh said the protester who tore down the banner and also dragged Ong’s arm had committed assault and trespassing.
Titiwangsa MP Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani of the Barisan Nasional and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, from PAS, said that even if the protesters disagreed with Lim, they should not react emotionally in religious matters.
“We should promote religious tolerance because without it, a nation can be easily destroyed.
“We live in a democratic country. They can always bring the matter to court and let the court decide,” Johari added.
Khalid said there was nothing Islamic about the act.
“What the protester did had tarnished the image of Islam. This happens when one uses religion to fulfil a racist agenda,” he said.
“If they want others to respect their views, they should first show some respect to others,” Khalid said, adding that the authorities had yet to take action against Perkasa.