PETALING JAYA - Political leaders have come out to condemn the actions of a man who allegedly threw pork into the grounds of a mosque in Penang.
Calling on authorities to take "exemplary action" against the man, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said police should also probe if the incident was random or due to something more sinister.
He also urged Malaysians to keep calm in the face of those out to incite religious or racial "clashes".
"We appeal for all groups not to react or retaliate along racial or religious lines based on an isolated or individual action.
"Let the long arm of the law haul the offender to court and punish him accordingly," he said in a statement here yesterday.
On Friday, the man was apprehended by members of the Telaga Air Mosque after he hurled the package into the compound at around 2am and tried to flee on a motorcycle.
The incident is the third involving the desecration of places of religion in Penang this year after vandalism at a Siamese Buddhist temple in Tanah Liat and a Hindu temple in Tasek Gelugor.
Describing it as a "barbaric act", Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government would work with all groups to ensure that it would not undermine the unity and stability of the multi-religious, multi-racial community.
"Firm action must be taken by the police against this man believed to suffering from mental problems, who showed disrespect for religion and threatened the religious harmony of the community," he said.
In Butterworth, police had obtained a four-day remand for the man, in his 40s.
North Seberang Prai OCPD Senior Asst Comm Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said the man would be investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code for insulting a religion.
"We advise the public not to speculate and to allow police to carry out their probe," he said, adding that they were still waiting for a psychiatric report on the man.
Initial investigation showed that the man had a drug-related background and his family had a history of mental problems, he said.