Police to question Umno president after spread of incendiary racial, religious messages

Noor Rashid said 160 complaints have been filed in the last two weeks over incendiary speeches. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Noor Rashid said 160 complaints have been filed in the last two weeks over incendiary speeches. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is among several prominent personalities who will be summoned for questioning as police investigate racially and religiously provocative statements that have viralled through social media.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said 160 complaints have been filed in the last two weeks over incendiary speeches.

“Some of the reports were tied to him, hence why we are calling him in,” he said of Zahid.

“We have been analysing trends on social media as of late, which have revealed widespread racial and religious sentiments being played up,” Noor Rashid told a news conference at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman today.

Others on the list include Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office P. Wathya Moorthy, Malay rights group Jaringan Melayu Malaysia president Datuk Azwanddin Hamzah, NGO group Gagasan 3 chairman Ragvinder Singh @ Reggie Jessy, his deputy Amran Ahmad Nor, Rata assemblyman Chiong Yoke Kong, and Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui.

Also included are Muhamad Edi Mohamad Riyars, popularly known as Edi Rejang whose video insulting a beer promoter went viral last week, and Alan Lau Shan Thean, whose video response to Edi in which he insulted the Malay community also went viral.

Noor Rashid said the police are investigating the viralled messages under Sections 504, 505, and 506 of the Penal Code, which deal with intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, statements conducive to public mischief, and criminal intimidation respectively.

“As police, we must control and maintain the peace and security of the country alongside our duties of enforcing the law, lest such sensitivities disrupt our social fabric,” the senior policeman said.

He urged those in the list to cooperate with the police and step forward soonest possible.

“We want to be reasonable with them, so they should come forward as soon as possible,” Noor Rashid said, explaining that their direct testimonies were needed.

He also reminded the public that Malaysia has laws to preserve public order.

“I must remind everyone that this is a free country, they can voice out what they think needs to be said. But I insist they abide by the laws which preserve public order and security,” he said.

He also said the organisers of the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination protest rally planned for December 8 at Dataran Merdeka have notified the authorities that they will apply for a permit.

But he added that the police will also call the organisers for an interview.

“We will call them in for interviews to ascertain that the rally will abide by the laws and regulations, and that it will be conducted peacefully.

“Should anything occur, we have made it clear they will be held responsible in the event,” Noor Rashid said.

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