PAS leader: Umno will pay ‘cowhead’ fines

By G Vinod and Teoh El Sen, Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: PAS leader Khalid Samad is certain that Umno would be forking out the cash to settle the fines imposed on the “cowhead” protesters.

The Shah Alam MP was commenting on the Sessions Court’s decision yesterday to let the majority of the protesters walk free with a slap on the wrist, which  many have criticised.

“I am sure the fines will be paid by their ‘sponsor’ which is Umno. These people are linked to Umno and they cannot run away from that.

“The fact is (Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries) Noh Omar and (Home Minister) Hishammuddin Hussein were giving them support,” he told FMT.

“I think their (the protesters’) action was extreme and the decision made by the court gives the  impression that it was not a serious offence,” he said.

Khalid also noted that the protesters did not show any remorse for their action after they were sentenced.

“This is contrary to the so-called spirit of 1Malaysia and the public should think whether the government is serious about improving national unity. I think that the seriousness of the attorney- general in taking the case was just not there,” he said.

‘Put this episode behind us’

While most quarters were disappointed that the 12, who paraded with a severed cow’s head  to protest against the contsruction of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam last year, were let off the hook,  one religious leader, however, said Malaysians should put the episode behind them.

“I believe the judiciary sent a message to all and we should put the matter to rest,” said Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Dr Thomas Phillips.

He added that although many were unhappy with the sentence, Malaysians should, however, accept it in good faith and move forward.

“We should no longer hold any grudges against them. These sort of provocations will not affect our overall understanding of one another as Malaysians are more matured now,” he said.

The 12 protesters were fined RM1,000 each for illegal assembly while two of them were fined an additional RM3,000. Another was jailed for a week.

In an immediate reaction, former Malaysian Hindu Sangam president A Vaithilingam had expressed disappointment over the light sentence.

Below are the comments from the rest:

Ramon Navaratnam, Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman:

I am disappointed at the weak sentence meted out by the court. Considering the gravity of the offence, which could have ignited serious ethnic disturbances, I consider this sentence inadequate.

I would say this warrants the maximum sentence, if not, much higher than that. We should have a more stringent and deterrent sentence so that it would send a message to all religious groups that such actions would not be tolerated.