Sedition charge for church protesters, says Malaysia Home Minister

Sedition charge for church protesters, says Malaysia Home Minister
The demonstration staged by a group of protesters demanding the removal of a cross at a church at Taman Medan, Selangor was described as the latest example of increasing religious bigotry.

SERDANG, Malaysia - Those who protested against the display of a cross outside a church in Taman Medan on Sunday will be charged with sedition, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Home Minister declared at a press conference that the protesters, one of whom is the brother of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, will face action for sedition.

Asked if the protest was seditious, he said anyone who infringed on another's religion would be subjected to the Sedition Act.

"Of course. Yes. Yes. Yes, action is to be taken. Whoever," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.

"I am very colour blind and police are colour blind. Whoever. Action has to be taken and will be taken."

Asked if Umno members found to be involved in the protest would face disciplinary action, Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the party's vice-president said:

"Of course, they are breaching the law. And in Umno, we have to respect other religions, so they have to face the consequences," Dr Ahmad Zahid said after launching the Home Ministry-ESQ Alumni Organisation at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang here ­yesterday.

The IGP had earlier in the day defended the protest, stating that no crime had been committed.

On Sunday, a group of 50 residents staged a peaceful protest against a new church in a shoplot after the congregation put up a cross on the building.

The group, which gathered at about 10am on Sunday while church service was going on, ­contended that the sight of the cross in a ­largely Muslim area challenged Islam and could influence younger minds.

The group were later pacified by a village leader, who spoke with the church pastor.

The church then agreed to take down the cross.

Meanwhile, on the two incidents involving security guards in Taman Molek, Johor and Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang, Dr Ahmad Zahid said he had directed the police to take ­immediate action.

"For the incident in Johor, the suspect has already been caught while the incident in Klang, investigation is being carried out," Dr Ahmad Zahid added.

"We have security guard courses that are compulsory.

"We have warned many times and encouraged security firms to send their guards for the course," Dr Ahmad Zahid added.

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