KUALA LUMPUR: "Jangan main-main."
This was the stern warning issued by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin against irresponsible quarters raising sensitive issues in the country.
He said the fanning of such sentiments would only sow the seeds of disunity in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.
Based on data and intelligence gatherings briefed to him and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Muhyiddin said the tendency of individuals and groups harping on issues related to race, religion and royalty (3R) has almost doubled this year compared to 2018.
“I had instructed the Inspector-General of Police (Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador) as well state police chiefs and police commissioners to use all existing laws against quarters creating uneasiness in the country by touching on 3R issues and other sentiments.
“As home minister, I will not compromise and tolerate such people and groups whose actions will disrupt public order and create chaos in the country.
“The Pakatan Harapan government embraces and upholds freedom of speech as well as freedom of the media but we must also have a sense of responsibility of our actions, too,” he said.
Muhyiddin said this to reporters after launching the second session of the ‘Bicara Merdeka’ programme here today.
The day-long programme was organised by Akademi Harimau Asia, a digital academy under the Asian Tiger initiative launched by Dr Mahathir on April 1 last year.
Muhyiddin did not rule out the possibility of certain quarters capitalising on sensitive issues to gain political mileage or to express their unhappiness with the present administration.
“However, we should not do these (harping on sensitive issues) at the expense of the peace and harmony of the country, which was built and nurtured since Malaysia gained its independence.”
Muhyiddin said the proliferation of 3R issues did not stem from the government's decision to amend or repeal several pieces of legislation, including the Sedition Act 1948.
“The law is still in place. The government has yet to make any decision whether to repeal or amend some provisions of the Act.
“We may even absorb it into the Penal Code. This is just a proposal as no decision had been made yet.
“However, the ministry and the police will enforce all available legislation involving security and public order of the country, which should not be compromised.”
He also called upon community leaders, heads of ethnic communities, religious group leaders as well as non-governmental organisations to continue strengthening cooperation among the people to maintain peace and harmony in the country.
Earlier in his speech, Muhyiddin expressed his concern over the ever-increasing tendencies among irresponsible people and groups engaging in insensitive actions and remarks, which he said would only undermine unity in a plural society.
He called on all parties to refrain from disputing what had been agreed and enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Malaysia, he said, cannot move forward without the contribution of all of its people.