We note with grave concern the apparently growing tendency to use violence in situations of dispute or disagreement over public interest issues.
Barely 10 days have passed since film producer David Teo was slapped in front of the prime minister by someone who took offence at his remarks during a TN50 dialogue session with representatives from the arts industry at Seri Perdana on 17 May.
And now we have another reported slapping incident. This time, the Penang chief minister’s information officer, Major (rtd) Zaidi Ahmad, was said to have been slapped during an encounter with a group of about 10 protesters outside the Simpang Enam mosque. They were protesting over the state government’s alleged interference in the issuing of fatwas in the state.
Over the last year, politicians, Bersih 5 supporters and even reporters have also fallen victim to this growing culture of violence.
Aliran deplores the use of violence over disputes or differences of opinion. This increasing use of violence seems to have been building up over the last few years in aggressive protests and threats of violence which go beyond the accepted norms of peaceful assemblies.
If such aggressors and bullies are not brought to account, it will only embolden them and encourage others to follow suit. Not to mention the message it sends out to the younger generation ie that violence and uncouth behaviour is acceptable.
The authorities must warn the public that such acts of violence will not be tolerated and take immediate action to bring culprits to book. Violence must not be allowed to take root in our culture.
Aliran executive committee
26 May 2017