Decision not to prosecute Perlis preacher a letdown, says group

Perlis preacher Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu says the decision by the Attorney-General’s Chambers proves he is innocent.

PETALING JAYA: Hindu activist Arun Dorasamy has urged the Attorney-General’s Chambers to review its decision not to act against Perlis preacher Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu, saying it affects the AGC’s integrity.

Describing the decision as disappointing, Arun said arrangements can be made to replace the DPP with lawyers, if needed, to prosecute the preacher for allegedly insulting other religions.

In a letter to the Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia group dated July 5, then Solicitor-General III Hanafiah Zakaria said the investigation paper on Zamri had been referred to the AGC and it was decided not to pursue the matter.

Arun, who is the association’s adviser, said his group was shocked with the decision and also questioned why the letter was only handed to them two months later.

“The letter was only given to me yesterday during a memorandum handing over event at the AGC,” he told FMT. “We have reason to believe it was held back until they (AGC) were pushed to a corner.”

He said the decision could give the wrong impression on the AGC’s stance on preaching methods that demean other religions.

Arun said his group had sent a letter to seek clarification from the AGC. It was also deciding whether to file a lawsuit against Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, involve the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the inspector-general of police, and as a last resort, stage a picket at the AGC.

Meanwhile, Zamri told FMT he was grateful with the AGC’s decision not to charge him, saying this proved his innocence.

He said Hindu groups “which insulted me as if I am insulting their religion” should retract their statements against him.

Zamri found himself in the spotlight after he gave a talk last December in which he was alleged to have referred to a Hindu belief in 330 million gods.

In a video which went viral, he said he became a Muslim because he could not accept idol worship, and expressed regret at being unable to convert the rest of his family and close friends to Islam.

Zamri was arrested under Section 298A of the Penal Code, which deals with causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will on grounds of religion, and also misusing internet services, under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

He said the number of reports lodged against someone did not determine if a person was guilty or not.

“If there are one million reports lodged against an individual, he is still innocent as long as he does not violate any law,” he said.

Zamri urged Hindus to “improve their skills in communicating and understanding the Malay language so that they do not deviate from understanding the real subject”.