Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mat Taib inciting ‘explosive' racial riots?

Mat Taib inciting ‘explosive' racial riots?
Andrew Ong & Hon Yi Wen
Aug 14, 07 3:43pm

Is Umno information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib inciting the recurrence of racial riots on a scale not seen since May 13, 1969? Two NGOs certainly believe so.

Their representatives lodged separate reports against him this morning at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) referred to Muhammad’s remarks during a press conference on Sunday, after the Kelana Jaya Umno division meeting.

According to a report in The Sun yesterday, Muhammad had warned that riots could break out if no action is taken against those who touch on racial and religious sensitivities via the Internet.

“Do we want the situation to come to the level that is more explosive than May 13?” he was quoted as saying.

Lawyer N Surendran, speaking for Madpet, said Muhammad (photo), now a senator, wields considerable influence and that his comments cannot be taken lightly.

“His statement implied that another May 13 type incident might occur and this time more serious and explosive,” said Surendran in his police report.

Speaking to reporters later, he urged the police to take immediate action against Muhammad in view of their speedy investigations and eight-hour marathon interrogation of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Dang Wangi police called in Raja Petra for questioning within two days of Muhammad lodging a report against him for allegedly seditious postings on the Malaysia Today website. His wife Marina Lee Abdullah was subsequently questioned as well.

He was the second blogger to be investigated following an Umno diatribe against online dissidents. Blogger Nathaniel Tan had been remanded for four days last month.

In the other police report - also against Muhammad’s remarks - the Group of Concerned Citizens said many of the issues raised by so-called online dissidents warrant attention, not threats.

Spokesperson Charles Santiago cited the example of Taiwan-based Malaysian student Wee Meng Chee who had been critical of the government and police in a music video posted online.

“The inefficiency of the civil service, (alleged) corruption in the police force and plight of vernacular school students are issues that have to be looked into,” Santiago said.

“Wee should not be threatened for raising these... Is the government so fragile that it cannot take criticism from young people?”

Umno politicians have demanded an apology for Muar-born Wee, who has also faced intimidation in the form of calls to detain him under the Internal Security Act or to be charged with sedition.

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