(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): A Penang DAP delegation, comprising DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh, Penang DAP State Chairman, Teoh Teik Huat, Penang DAP State Secretary, Chow Kuan Yeow, Penang State Assemblywoman for Bukit Lancang, Chong Eng, the Penang DAP Political Education Director N. Balasundram and myself, met the Penang Chief Police Officer, Deputy Commissioner Datuk Abdul Hamid Mustapha at the Penang Police Hqrs this morning for a briefing on the latest situation in Penang after the rioting yesterday.
Datuk Abdul Hamid said that the situation was under control.
After the briefing, we visited the former and present site of the Sri Raja Raja Mathurai Veeran temple. The dispute arising from the Sri Raja Raja Mathurai Veeran temple and the nearby Kampung Rawa mosque for over a week was the cause of religious sentiments and the rioting yesterday.
The first priority is the restoration of calm, peace and harmony and I call on all concerned to help the authorities to bring about the return of such normalcy in the Penang state.
The police should give assurance to everyone that they would give protection so that no persons need fear for their safety or those of their loved ones.
Although the restoration of calm, peace and harmony should be the priority objective at the moment, there is a need to review what had happened for the past week as to whether there could have been a better handling of the dispute between the mosque and the temple, particularly in providing information to the public, so as to defuse it and prevent a rioting from taking place. A media blackout of the dispute for over a week had only created a situation where all sorts of rumours could take thrive. This is important so that a multi-religious Penang and Malaysia can learn from what had happened to avoid any future recurrence.
The authorities should also seriously examine why a rioting could not have been averted yesterday when the temple was already relocated to a new site about half a mile away on Thursday night.