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Nip the rumors in the bud

  • Malaysians must remain highly alert and must carefully filter every piece of information they have been fed with before sharing it on social media.

Sin Chew Daily

The Sri Maha Mariamman Temple fracas has drawn tremendous attention among Malaysians. The incident has caused serious injury to a fire and rescue department personnel, and the lawless acts of mobsters have shocked the entire Malaysian society.

Adding to the fury are tons of rumors wildly circulating in the cyberspace.

These rumors have made the incident so much more complicated, causing unnecessary misunderstanding while further fanning public emotion.

After firefighter Muhammad Adib was beaten by mobsters to serious injury, there were rumors of his death on social media. Nevertheless, the Selangor fire and rescue department has since clarified that Adib was in stable condition.

It was also rumored that a policeman was involved in the commotion but this was later rebutted by IGP Mohamad Fuzi Harun who said the person involved was not a regular policeman but a reservist dismissed by the police for disciplinary reasons.

As if that is not enough, it was said that the whole thing was politically motivated, citing the link between primary industries minster Teresa Kok and the developer's project. This was also denied by those involved, with the minister urging web users not to drag her into the incident.

Even though the fracas at the USJ temple is purely a criminal case, it entails the highly sensitive racial and religious factors that can be very easily exploited by irresponsible quarters to spawn public uneasiness. It is imperative that all parties remain calm and not to be influenced by the ill-intentioned rumors.

The most important thing now is to identify the real culprits behind the riot and bring those responsible to book in order to preserve social stability and harmony. Spreading lies and rumors on social media sites will only complicate the issue further.

Communications and multimedia minister Gobind Singh Deo has said MCMC will investigate individuals spreading lies on social media over the Hindu temple riot, and stern action will be taken against those found guilty of this.

Although the new government is supportive of freedom of expression, spreading unverified news is a different matter and must be put under control.

Meanwhile, Malaysians must remain highly alert and must carefully filter all information they have been fed with before sharing it with others.

In other words, they must try to verify the information through trusted channels.

At the same time, the government must also provide reliable information to the public and refute any untrue rumors as soon as possible in order to prevent them from causing further harm to our society.

The unfortunate incident at the Subang temple is a serious criminal case, with the gravely injured firefighter yet to regain his consciousness.

The authorities must act instantaneously and punish the culprits involved, while members of the public must be sensible and alert and not to carelessly share unverified news on social media.

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