Monday January 11, 2010
New cases of attempted arson and vandalism being probed
Reports by LOURDES CHARLES, IZATUN SHARI, RASLAN BAHAROM and MARTIN CAVARLHO
TAIPING: Two cases of attempted arson were reported involving the All-Saints’ Church at Jalan Taming Sari and SMK Convent along Jalan Convent here, while in Malacca, black paint was splashed on the outer wall of the Malacca Baptist Church in Durian Daun.
The staircase leading to the 122-year-old All-Saints’ Church – the oldest Anglican church in the country – was slightly burned while the Molotov cocktail thrown into the school failed to explode.
Meanwhile, in Miri, police were probing the minor vandalism of a church near Lutong after workers found two broken windows yesterday.
Miri police chief ACP Jamaluddin Ibrahim said he believed this was not linked to the arson attacks against several churches in the peninsula.
In Bukit Mertajam, a car belonging to a 40-year-old pastor in Bukit Tengah was splashed with red paint by vandals. State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said the incident was isolated and not related to the arson attacks.
All-Saints’ Church pastor Rev Joshua Ong told reporters he saw burn marks at the church entrance and side porch when he was opening the premises at 7am in preparation for its service yesterday.
Two broken bottles, believed to be home-made Molotov cocktails, were seen near the spots.
At the school, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at about 3am into the guardhouse, located at the school compound adjacent to the Taiping Catholic Church.
Perak CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said police had beefed up security at places of worship in the state and urged the people to remain calm.
In Malacca, police were investigating the black paint incident following a report lodged at the Melaka Tengah district police station.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the two arson attacks and vandalism were being investigated thoroughly.
“I assure the public that we have increased our presence at churches and mosques as well as other places of worship and will do everything within our means to bring to book those responsible.”
Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar who visited the Assumption Church in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya, urged the public not to aggravate the situation by listening to rumours.
Assumption Church parish priest Father Philip Muthu appealed to all Malaysians not to politicise the attack and refrain from attending a candle light vigil planned on Wednesday.