PETALING JAYA: The man at the centre of a controversy surrounding the mistreatment of a dog by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) personnel today explained that he was not out to insult Islam when he brought up Prophet Muhammad’s name numerous times.
Koh Tat Meng, 48, a Buddhist, said he was merely pleading with the MPSJ personnel, whom he identified as a Muslim, to show some compassion towards the canine.
Islam and the Prophet, he said, preached about being sympathetic towards animals.
“So, when I brought up the Prophet’s name, I wasn’t insulting him. Many people have misunderstood the situation,” he told reporters after lodging a police report against MPSJ officers for assault and cruelty to animals.
A video, showing several MPSJ personnel trying to capture a dog while Koh attempted to intervene, was recorded by Koh’s wife, Diong Mei Li, and has since gone viral on social media.
Koh said one MPSJ personnel pinned him against a car, obviously slighted by the numerous mentions of the Prophet’s name.
One of the catchers explained that they were only following orders from their superiors and told the man to just file a report.
At some point in the video, one of the personnel hurled foul language at Koh and warned him to watch his words after he had mentioned something related to Islam.
Koh and Diong were later arrested and are being investigated for obstructing MPSJ officers.
They have since been released on police bail.
Koh’s lawyer, Rajesh Nagarajan, described the probe against his client for obstruction as “ridiculous”.
“He did not stop them, he merely pleaded with them to not torture the dog. Therefore, his arrest is unfair and should not have been done in the first place.”
Rajesh also dismissed the MPSJ’s claim that Koh had provoked them as ridiculous, saying the video showed that its officers had handled the dog “cruelly and brutally”.
He said MPSJ should come out to condemn its officers and not shift the blame.
“They should apologise for saying it is a provocation,” he said.
The case has also caught the attention of the Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin, who expressed regret over the rough treatment of the dog.