Thursday 18 August 2011

CM: Attacks may be backlash over loudspeaker ban

The DAP-led Penang government is probably on the receiving end of the backlash over the recent controversy surrounding the mosque loudspeakers ban for other than the azan in the state.

This, indicated Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, could be the reason behind the suspected arson at the party's state headquarters early today.

NONE“I think this is a dangerous trend. This is the second attack in four days. The first attack was the spraying of red paint,” said Lim.

“We feel that this is one of those attacks by Umno on the recital of Quran issue - it was decided by the mufti, not by the state government,” he told reporters after attending today's National Finance Council meeting in Putrajaya.

On Sunday, the party's headquarters along Jalan Talipon and Komtar assemblyperson Ng Wei Aik's service centre on Lorong Seratus Tahun were found spattered with paint.

The entrance doors, gates and floors of both premises were splashed with orange paint, while the signboards were covered in red paint.

Lim explained that the ban on the use of loudspeakers for reciting verses from the Quran before dawn prayers was entirely a decision taken by the state's religious council, and DAP is not be blamed.

NONEHowever, Penang Umno has been harping on the issue, claiming that the ban infringes on the rights of the Muslims and that it was influenced by the DAP administration, despite Penang mufti Hassan Ahmad's (right) clarification that the decision was not made by the state administration but by the religious authorities.

“It has nothing to do with the state government. Complaints were made by a number of Muslims, not non-Muslims, but we were blamed and I think that has escalated to this,” reiterated Lim.

Asked if the state would appeal to the religious council to retract its ban, Lim said that would be akin to “interference”.

“I will try to communicate to the home minister and IGP (inspector-general of police) our serious concern over what I would describe as a dangerous element,” he said.

Lim added that the lack of swift action by the police on the last two attacks of vandalism was a reflection of “double standard”.

Referring to a protest held by several pro-BN supporters in Penang in May, Lim said action had yet to be taken against the demonstrators, who caused a massive traffic jam on Penang Bridge and used violence on reporters.

“There has yet to be any action against the Umno organisers. I hope the police can act without fear or favour, and nab those responsible for the attacks,” he said.

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