Church Attacks: Don’t be influenced by Internet reports, says Hisham

(The Malay Mail) – Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has called on the people not to be influenced by reports on the Internet or text messages pertaining to the situation in the country.

He made the call as he confirmed that seven churches had become the target of vandalism in the country, including one in Miri, Sarawak and two in Taiping, Perak which were reported today.

“The situation is under control and the people should not be worried. I wish to remind the public not to be influenced by reports on the Internet or text messages,” he told reporters after opening an education motivation programme under the Juara Rakyat initiative at the Bukit Sentosa exposition ground in Bukit Beruntung near here.

In the incident in Miri, the glass windows of the Good Shepherd Church were shattered after being thrown with bricks, according to a church member.

In Taiping, the All Saints church and the St Louis Catholic church were thrown with Molotov cocktails but suffered no damage.

Meanwhile, the school guard post of Sekolah Menengah Convent, also in Taiping, was slightly damaged when its glass window panels were shattered by a Molotov cocktail thrown into the school compound. It did not detonate.

Meanwhile, police in Melaka are investigating a paint splashing incident on a church in Durian Daun.

Melaka Tengah OCPD ACP Sallehhudin Abd Rahman said the church management came to know of the incident at about 9am and that a police report was lodged at 12.30pm.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin also urged the people not to blindly believe reports by foreign media on the arson attempts on churches, saying these reports were not a reflection of the actual situation.

He added that some of the reports gave the impression as though the situation was out of control.

Towards this end, Hishammuddin said, the Home Ministry would brief representatives of foreign missions to give them the true picture of the situation.

“We need to explain to the people outside the country as the issue has been played up by certain parties. So we will be meeting the envoys and I myself will brief them,” he said.

Hishammuddin also slammed those who dragged Umno and the government into the issue.

“I, as the Home Minister and Umno vice-president, would like to remind those who drag Umno and government into the issue not to play with fire.

“Allegations that Umno is behind all these are a big lie,” he said.

Meanwhile, the management of Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati, which suffered serious damage due to a firebomb attack on Friday, has expressed the hope that the Selayang Municipal Council could expedite their application for a new church in Batu Caves.

One of the church’s pastors Robert Tan told Bernama that the application was made before the attack and that the church hoped that the matter can be resolved within the next two weeks.

Due to the damage, its Sunday services will now held at Wisma MCA, Jalan Ampang.

He also said that the CIMB Foundation had donated RM100,000 to the church which was handed over by CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Tun Razak at Wisma MCA today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced an allocation of RM500,000 to the church.

A check at the church showed police patrol cars making their rounds in the area.