Home Civil Society Voices Probe socks issue instigators for criminal offences

Probe socks issue instigators for criminal offences

Say no to racism! - PEXELS

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Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) refers to the statement made by Criminal Investigations Department director Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain.

The CID director urged everyone, including politicians, to not incite racial sentiments over the issue of socks bearing the word Allah and warned against a repeat of Kampung Medan-type events.

His statement comes late in the day. For weeks, statements of an inciting and inflammatory nature were made by politicians with little reaction from the authorities. Eventually, this resulted in a petrol bomb attack at a KK Super Mart outlet. The public and businesses were also put in fear due to the artificial ratcheting up of tensions by politicians.

The entire debate over the socks was pointless, superfluous and dangerous. No reasonable person in this country thinks this incident was anything but a supply error on the part of the business implicated.

Are the police, having called for calm, going to do the right thing and probe those who created the tense situation by framing the issue as an attack on Islam? Or do the culprits who turned the country upside down for a fortnight get away with it?

It is public knowledge that a key person responsible for the build-up of tension was Umno youth wing chief, Akmal Saleh, who was relentless in playing up the issue, even after the business had made public apologies and criminal charges had been brought against them. There may be others involved as well.

It is dangerous to let politicians baselessly carry on the narrative that the religion is under attack. These kinds of statements from persons who have political standing and influence can have a far-reaching impact on public order and tranquillity.

READ MORE:  Combating vigilantism: Sisters in Islam responds to 'sock gate'

In our country, there is a long history of politicians using religious or racial issues for political gain. Aren’t we all sick of it? Will the Pakatan Harapan-led “Madani” (civil and compassionate) government tolerate this, just like previous governments did?

We are a nation of laws and the rule of law must prevail. All those who incited or instigated the public must face the full force of the law. It does not matter if the person responsible comes from a government political party. All responsible must face the law.

Potential offences have been committed under Section 505(b) and (c) of the Penal Code for making statements that can cause fear or alarm to any section of the public and cause disturbance against public order or which incites one community against another community.

Action must be taken to prevent a recurrence of the events of past weeks and to demonstrate that no one is above the law. The nation cannot move past this issue unless those responsible face justice. – LFL

Zaid Malek is director of Lawyers for Liberty.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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30 Mar 2024 9.49pm

When was Aliran condemning the sock issue to begin with. Such double standard racism at its best

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