Residents in the troubled settlements had said that there had been many incidents in which people get slashed for no reason where the attackers were either drunks or involved in gangsterism. In this sense, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were right when they first claimed that the clashes did not start as racial clashes.
Unfortunately, the original clashes involving Malays preparing
for a wedding and Indians preparing for a funeral the previous Sunday and
the incident involving the breaking of a car windscreen of a Malay motorist
by several Indian youths playing with catapults at the Desa Ria flats flared
up into a massive confrontation involving about 200 people on Thursday
night, resulting in the ethnic clashes in past five days making them the
worst in Malaysia in 32 years resulting so far in the official statistics
deaths, 44 injured and 177 arrests as well as the destruction of some 20 vehicles.
The failure of the police and the authorities to prevent the Thursday flare-up after the earlier Sunday incidents is a colossal blunder in crisis management which must be investigated thoroughly for the government to learn the expensive lessons being paid not only by the innocent victims of the clashes but also by the nation in terms of a major nation-building setback and severe damage to our international reputation.
The Cabinet on Wednesday should take a serious view of the very inflammatory
statement made by the local State Assemblywoman in the area, Norkhaila
Jamaluddin (Taman Medan - UMNO) who said that the Malays in the area have
"long been patient although the Indians have attacked us again and again".
She told Malaysiakini last Friday:
"Every three or four months, we hear of incidents such as these. We (the Malays) have long been patient and many have been terkorban" explaining that terkorban meant 'ending up as the victims'.The Cabinet should ask the Attorney-General, Datuk Ainum Mohd Saaid to study as to whether Norkhaila had committed sedition in inciting ethnic clashes in her constituency and whether sedition charges should be filed against her.