KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has ordered security forces to be on alert for possible unrest stemming from irresponsible quarters playing up racial and religious sentiments.
Anwar said his government would not allow any statements that could threaten harmony, stressing that multi-racial Malaysia must remain peaceful.
“Any attempt made by anyone to pit one race against another, or to increase the racial and religious temperature in this country will not be permitted.
“I have ordered security forces to be on alert because those who are desperate or feel challenged will use these sentiments, and the poor will be paid to cause chaos,” he told a press conference after chairing today’s cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.
While he did not make specific mention of any incident, Anwar's comments come at a time of controversies surrounding indie film Mentega Terbang, accusations against the youth and sports minister of proselytising Christianity to Muslim youth, and the ban on politicians from delivering religious talks in mosques in several states.
It also comes in the wake of corruption charges being levelled against opposition leaders, including former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over his alleged involvement in the contentious Jana Wibawa initiative.
Muhyiddin was slapped with a total of six counts of graft – four for abuse of power and two under money-laundering laws – at the sessions court here last Friday.
He was then charged with another count of money laundering at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Monday.
Another high-profile politician to be charged recently was former Bersatu information chief and Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who was slapped with two charges of soliciting and receiving bribes worth RM6.9 million.
In his press conference, Anwar said his unity government will always uphold the principles of the federal constitution, which stipulates Islam as the religion of the federation but that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.
In this regard, he said any arising issues concerning such matters must be resolved amicably to avoid potential conflict, misunderstanding, or prejudice.
“If there are any violations of any rules, or (if an issue) has touched on racial sensitivity, then these must be addressed through negotiations,” he said.
Separately, when asked about the floods in Johor, Anwar said while they are under control, there are purported attempts being made by those who lost power to stir up racial and religious sentiments.
“If these actions go overboard to the point of disrupting (peace), our security forces will act firmly and decisively.” – The Vibes, March 17, 2023