KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (Nov 27) vowed tough action against those responsible for the riots at a Hindu temple in Selangor.
"The criminals involved attempted to riot and injure security and rescue service personnel and damage public property, and they will be dealt with severely according to the law.
“The masterminds behind this incident, if there are any, will not escape the appropriate punishment,” he said in a statement.
Mahathir added that based on preliminary investigations, there were no racial or religious element in the incidents, although it involved the relocation of Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
“Once again, I emphasise that the riot is a criminal incident and has nothing to do with other elements,” he said, adding that people should not listen to rumours and spread them irresponsibly.
Cars and motorcycles were set ablaze in the wee hours of Monday morning when violence broke out near the temple. A fight had broken out between two groups, sparked by a disagreement over the relocation of the temple.
Violence erupted again on Tuesday morning when a group gathered near the temple and torched the wreckage of two burnt cars. They also damaged a fire engine at the scene and smashed glass panels at a nearby mall.
One firefighter is critically injured after rioters pulled him out of the fire truck and beat him up.
A total of 21 people have been arrested.