Dangerous spin: Cops warn against turning road rage incident into racial issue

13 Aug 2019 / 11:32 H.

PETALING JAYA: Police have warned against turning the road rage incident in Bangi into a racial issue after it was given such a spin on social media.

Lawyers have also questioned why certain websites had identified the suspect by name and MyKad number.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor (pix) yesterday warned social media users not to abuse the platform to disrupt peace and order in the country.

“There were social media users who resorted to manipulating the incident to stir racial disputes that can lead to disruption of peace and harmony in the country,” Mazlan said.

“We have informed and explained to the public about the nature of the incident and what caused the incident. Police have also nabbed suspects involved in the incident. However, police found that there were uncalled-for statements and several accusations made on social media.”

In Saturday’s incident, a fender bender turned into a car chase and that led to a fight where one of the two motorists involved was killed on the North-South Highway near Bandar Baru Bangi.

Selangor CID chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat confirmed that police have quizzed several individuals who witnessed the incident.

“Some people voluntarily came forward and we have urged others to step forward too,” he said.

Lawyers for Liberty adviser N. Surendran said it is unethical to publish the suspect’s or victim’s identity until the police have furnished the details. He was commenting on a website that attached a video of the incident.

“It is against journalistic ethics. The suspect cannot be named until police release the information or the suspect is charged in court,” he said.

“Why is there a need to racialise an isolated incident? It is unfair to any suspect regardless of the case. Imagine if the person is found to be innocent? We must remember that a person is innocent until they’re proven guilty under the law.

“Usually, the person (who racialises the issue) is either political or just creating mischief.”

Another lawyer, Charles Hector, said the suspect should not be named until he is charged.

Meanwhile, Persatuan Promosi Harmoni Malaysia honorary secretary Prematilaka K. D. Serisena acknowledged the existence of basic issues of distrust among ethnic groups in this country, and that the road rage incident should be looked at with logic.

“This is first of all, a fight between two individuals who had in-built frustration and high emotions that resulted into a car chase, verbal arguments, and an unfortunate fatality,” he said.

He urged observers and internet commentators to not look at the incident through race-tinted glasses and make race-based arguments over it.

“They just don’t see the incident for what it is. We should throw away any race or religious labels and look at this incident using common sense first,” he said.

Following the incident, police have arrested and acquired a remand order against the suspect and his wife for seven days from Sunday. The case is being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.

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