Explain source of insidious SMS: Johor groups
Sep 1, 07 4:56pm
Three Johor-based groups have urged the authorities to explain the source of a widely circulated SMS which sparked fear of racial unrest in the state over the Merdeka weekend.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the groups called for an immediate explanation of incidents in Taman Cendana, Pasir Gudang which is believed to have sparked the SMS rumours.
“We urge the public not to view criminal cases from a racial perspective because in criminal cases, anyone can become a victim regardless of race and religion,” said the groups.
The statement was signed by Johor branch of human rights watchdog Suaram, Persahabatan Semparuthi and Johor PAS Youth. The groups also warned that the rumours have proven that race-relations in the country was fragile.
“As a plural society, there is distrust among the various communities. A formula is needed to resolve this problem for a better future,” the groups added.
Four arrested so far The SMS which some sources claim started as early as Aug 26, warned of bloodshed between Malays and Indians on Aug 30 and Aug 31.
The rumours spread rapidly throughout the state and the country igniting fears that riots similar to the May 13 racial incident would recur.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the police have dispelled the rumours as “lies”.
There were also no reports of violent incidents to support the rumours.According to press reports, the police have thus far arrested four individuals under the Internal Security Act inconnection with the rumours.
Johor acting police chief SAC I Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said a special task force was established to investigate the matter.
“We are not taking this matter lightly. We want to get to the root of it and will not hesitate to arrest anyone involved in disrupting the security in the state,” the Star quoted him as saying yesterday.