Hakam views with deep remorse the tragic and untimely death of fireman Adib Mohd Kassim. He paid for his life dearly in the line of his calling – with untold suffering of his fiancé and family.
No doubt it was aggravated by devotees being attacked amidst their prayers. Or the tardiness of the police in quelling the fracas speedily. Yet it is now clear that it was not racially motivated.
Hakam is concerned that there are some quarters seeking to stir up racial and religious animosity pivoting on his death. This will be a sad taint on Adib’s legacy. For he attended to his duties as a trained fireman professionally – regardless of race or religion.
Hakam feels it is high time the government initiates a concerted policy designed to stop matters from being characterised along ethnic-religious lines in the new Malaysia that we helped so painfully to create.
Else every little individual non-ethnic incident can be dressed up as a collective polarising racial issue: be it a road accident involving different races, or this Seafield incident which was essentially a dispute over land between a developer and the occupiers. No doubt it was aggravated by devotees being attacked amidst their prayers. Yet it is now clear that it was not racially motivated.
The subsequent reaction by some politicians may now, perhaps, be seen as insensitive and inappropriate. But this is with the benefit of hindsight. And after the incident.
Hakam strongly urges the new government to take stock of the situation and act firmly against the few who would – for whatever motive – embark to wreck the unity of Malaysians.
And emplace measures to defuse racial characterisation of incidents – with education and awareness and sensitisation programmes – starting from our school children and extending to all sectors and levels of society. To spread cross-communal solidarity. Kicked off perhaps by a nation-wide harmony and reconciliation commission, as suggested by a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
That is what we all expect and deserve – from a new government in a new Malaysia.
Gurdial Singh Nijar is president of Hakam.