Many individuals and groups reacted to the disruption of the Article 11-Aliran forum in Penang. Here is a sampling of what they had to say, culled from various media sources.
It was the wrong thing to do. It was a stupid act by these people. They interrupted in an abrupt manner an open forum organised to intelligently discuss current matters.
I am not afraid to say this because we are living in the new millennium where we need to sit and talk things over.
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
Source: New Straits Times, 16 May 2006
Thus, it is with alarm that we note that a forum on the Federal Constitution, which sought to discuss the provisions of Article 11 pertaining to religious freedom, was forced to an abrupt end by about 500 people on Sunday.
The clear message that must be sent out is that there is always room for dialouge and discussion no matter how serious or sensitive the matter. We must not allow this premise to be jeopardised by organised mobs which unlawfully impose their will on others.
theSun, 16 May 2006
Suppressing free and peaceful opinion through threats and coercion should never be tolerated or Malaysians will continue to be inward-looking.
For this, we should salute Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who condemned the protestors.
Source: New Straits Times, 16 May 2006
Saya mengingatkan kumpulan ini, jika sekiranya masih berdegil , saya memberi jaminan bahawa kumpulan Artikel 11 ini dan seumpamanya akan berdepan dengan risiko yang lebih besar daripada mereka hadapi pada 14 Mei yang lalu.
Ustaz Mohd Hafiz Nordin
Pengerusi Badan Anti Suruhanjaya Antara Agama – BADAI
16 Mei 2006
The meeting was held in a closed door manner and it was their right to discuss the matter and what they talked about was not in contravention of any laws because at the end of the day the Government will decide on the matters.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Source: The Star, 17 May 2006
There is, however, some hope. This time around, the Government acknowledges the forum as a legitimate activity, and has condemned the incident of disruption as “wrong and stupid”, to borrow the words of the minister in charge of law.
The next time a similar situation arises, the police must be prepared to go all out to ensure that legitimate activities by peace-loving persons will not be thwarted by those who threaten to breach the peace and disrupt public order.
Taboos cultivate ignorance and hidden discontent. Taboos impede progress. Speak up, Malaysians!
Yeo Yang Poh
President, The Malaysian Bar
Source: New Straits Times, 17 May 2006
Pihak media, dengan disokong kuat Nazri Aziz yang “sekularis stupid” itu jelas cuma memutarbelitkan fakta, memainkan jarum halus propaganda mereka.
Tapi saya juga tidak terkejut jika maruah dan kedaulatan Islam dipermainkan sebegitu rupa, pertumpahan darah boleh berlaku! Kalau tragedi 13 Mei 1969 tercetus kerana “masalah antara kaum”, maka hal yang lebih buruk boleh dirakamkan jika “masalah antara agama” cuba diremehkan.
Penganjur IFC harus faham, mereka sudah melewati wilayah sensitif dan harus bersedia menerima padah susulannya. Tidak bermakna jika mereka berseminar atau berforum secara beradab, menurut peraturan, dan tidak mengeluarkan kecaman kepada mana-mana pihak, maka mereka mengharapkan pihak lain yang begitu sensitif dengan isu yang mereka bawa akan menghadapinya dengan tenang juga.
Penganjur IFC juga sering bercakap dusta.
Ahmad Lutfi Othman
Source: Harakahdaily, 17 Mei 2006
Instead, this was a recrudescence of the inchoate misapprehensions that continue to afflict this issue, despite progress on reconciling the jurisdictions of Syariah and civil law in this country to better manage the interfaces of Malaysia’s many faiths.
The mob’s actions deeply damaged whatever cause they were presuming to espouse, as they came across as misguided, badly led and belligerent. Their intimidatory tactics contributed nothing to the discourse, let alone any resolution thereof.
Source: Editorial, New Straits Times, 17 May 2006
It appears that mob rule prevailed during the incident. I feel sad the police who are given the task of upholding the law appeared to have sided with the protestors.
Senator Dr Chin Fook Weng
Source: New Straits Times, 19 May 2006
… namun umat Islam mempunyai hak bersuara atau mengatakan bantahan kerana kutipan tandatangan penubuhan Suruhanjaya Antara Agama (IFC) merupakan satu perbuatan yang menghiris sensitiviti umat Islam.
Tindakan Aliran dianggap begitu biadap sekali kerana sanggup berhadapan dengan umat Islam tanpa rasa bersalah terutamanya mencampuri urusan agama.
Source: Harakahdaily, 19 May 2006
Article 11 enunciates the constitutional position on this matter not only for non-Muslims but also for Muslims, not only for citizens but also for everyone in the country. That is why it will profit everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims, to attend such talks and forums on this matter that engage knowledgeable speakers.
Tun Hamid Omar
Source: The Star, 21 May 2006