Low Yat brawl not racially motivated, PM says

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak described as irresponsible the claim that the Low Yat Plaza clashes were racially-charged. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak described as irresponsible the claim that the Low Yat Plaza clashes were racially-charged. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — The melee at Low Yat Plaza last night that saw five individuals injured and 18 arrested was simply the result of a criminal act and was not racially motivated, Datuk Seri Najib Razak insisted today, laying to rest speculation online that those involved had played the race card.

The prime minister said it was irresponsible to claim that the clashes had been racially-charged when it was in fact a different sort of crime.

“This must be seen as a criminal act and cannot be considered a racial incident.

“I want to stress that in these instances, normally it will be looked at from a racial perspective. A criminal act in the end becomes a racial incident,” he said during a press conference after he handed goods to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur today.

“It is irresponsible to use social media to popularise this issue, and give incorrect perspective about what happened,” he added.

Najib has also instructed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to take the steps necessary to ensure that a similar mob scene does not reoccur in the future.

“I have asked IGP to take effective action to prevent the action that happened at Low Yatt yesterday,” he said.

The prime minister also urged Malaysians not to give in to mob mentality, saying they should make sure to check their facts before reacting in any way.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, also known as Ku Nan, said that last night's brawl was “unbecoming” of Malaysians, and that those involved should not have taken matters into their own hands.

“Whatever it is, if those who steal or purchase fake items, the shop owner shouldn't have taken the law into his own hands, even the guy who whacked him. Call the security guard, call the police to control it

“The same thing with the Malay boys, why you bring your friend to come and take revenge?” he said.

A riot broke out at Low Yat Plaza in the city centre last night that reportedly left five people injured after a Malay man was caught by security guards at the complex for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from a Chinese trader and handed over to the police Saturday.

The youth later reportedly contacted his friends who reacted by heading to the store where the attempted theft allegedly happened, where they then assaulted the shop workers and vandalised the store resulting in losses estimated at RM70,000, according to national newswire Bernama.

A mob then gathered at the shopping centre last night and fights broke out.

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