7 more nabbed but where are the masterminds

Even as police arrest seven more youths in connection with the attempted arson at the All Saints’ Church and a convent school in Taiping, calls are growing for a more thorough probe and the puppet-masters behind the crimes to be brought swiftly to justice.

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah

“While I would credit the police for their apprehension of the alleged perpetrators, it has been two weeks since the first attack. Yet all they have done is to etain the pawns, where are the masterminds?” church activist and PKR leader Ronnie Klassen told Harakahdaily.

“If the police want to be taken seriously, then they should accelerate their investigations and expose the true identities of those behind these heinous acts. The fact that the puppet-masters may have political links as these are politically-instigated crimes  should not deter the police or delay their investigations.” 

Who and where are the ring-leaders

According to Perak CPO Zulkifli Abdullah, the seven suspects arrested on Friday were aged between 17 and 29. They were detained in four separate raids in Kamunting and have been remanded for six days to help investigations.

Earlier this week, police rounded up eight Malay youths for setting fire to the Metro Tabernacle Church in Kuala Lumpur.

Both the Metro Tabernacle and the Taiping attacks are part of a spate of violence against places of worship in various parts of the country following mass protests against a High Court ruling, allowing non-Muslims to use the word Allah.

Since January 8, ten churches, the convent school, a 100-year old Sikh temple and two suraus have fallen victim to assailants hurling fire-bombs, stones or paint in attacks that have either gutted or defaced the facilities.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Umno party has been blamed for opening the door to this rampage. The Umno president and his top leaders had spearheaded a massive Allah for Muslims Only campaign to protest the December 31, 2009, court decision.Their fiery communal rhetoric was taken as cue for religious zealots to go on a rampage.

Police have also been sharply criticized for their slowness and delay in arresting the culprits, despite assuring the public at the outset that those responsible were likely to be amateurs.

Nevertheless, despite the question-mark on who the real ring-leaders were, Zulkifly insisted the Kamunting suspects were not part of any organized group, but had acted on their own in response to the Allah ruling.