To say something totally insulting and unacceptable and then retract or apologise is malarkey. Even worse is to retract half-heartedly or apologise insincerely. If the authorities are unwilling to deal with this sternly and fairly, then we can all expect more trouble and counter actions.
Insulting others by belittling their religious practices is the worst form of insult.
I think Malaysians in general have for a long time respected this sensitivity. We generally know where the boundaries are and will never tread beyond that. But in recent times, troublemakers have been getting bolder. They push the “boundary of insults” for whatever reason – political, racial or hate. The worst is that many of these uncalled-for acts are being perpetrated by our leaders and members of Parliament.
I do not have to be a Hindu to feel the insult when someone asks if the powder/ashes on another’s forehead is from Chin Peng’s ashes. What will the next insult be if the authorities fail to see the gravity of this and start taking appropriate action?
I think all leaders and members of Parliament must know the difference between being abrasive and incendiary. They must also know the difference between assertion and hate.
Retractions and apologies are often used as an expedient or hypocritical way to cover up deliberate transgressions. It is also an insult if apologies and retractions are extended insincerely.
I think there are track records and patterns of behaviour for the authorities to judge whether certain things are said deliberately and with evil intention.
It is about time.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.