BUKIT MERTAJAM: Several statues inside and outside the St Anne’s Church here have been sprayed with black paint, in what was believed to be an act of vandalism.
Police are now looking for a lone male suspect who came to the church on a motorcycle.
Seberang Prai Tengah district police chief Assistant Commissioner Nik Ros Azhan Nik Ab Hamid said the incident happened about 4.45pm on Wednesday.
He said a worker had alerted the church’s security manager about the incident before the latter confronted the suspect.
“The security manager confronted the suspect, who then scolded him.
“The suspect then asked for a pen claiming that he wanted to write something.
"He then wrote verses of the Bible on a paper that he brought along.
“He then left on his motorcycle,” Nik Ros Azhan said.
He added that the security manager claimed that he had never seen the suspect before.
Police are also scrutinizing recordings from the church’s closed circuit television (CCTV) camera for clues.
The case has been classified as arson, under Section 427 of the Penal Code.
The iconic St Anne’s Church, founded in 1846, has recently been raised to the ranks of a minor basilica.
A minor basilica is a Catholic church building that has been granted the title of basilica by the Holy See.
The celebration of the feast of St Anne attracted more than 100,000 pilgrims annually to the church.