Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein

PUTRAJAYA: Police need to investigate further the recent church attacks before making any arrest as they have to ensure that the suspects really committed the offence, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Asked by reporters why the police had not made any arrest although there were indications, he said the police needed to look at the bigger scenario, whether the church attacks were a conspiracy by certain quarters with a hidden agenda or just isolated cases.

“So far, it seems that these are isolated cases. God willing, they can be curbed. What is worrying is if the acts were coordinated by certain groups,” he said after the ministry’s monthly assembly where he also delivered its new year message, here, Tuesday.

Also present were his deputies Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop and Jelaing Mersat, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam and Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

Yesterday, Hishammuddin was reported to have said that police already had some indications or information to identify the suspects who committed arson at the Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati but declined to elaborate as the investigation was ongoing.

Hishammuddin said until this morning, there had been no new incidents reported but monitoring would continue to prevent anymore such attacks.

On the statement by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the church attacks were politically motivated, he said this aspect was also being monitored and action would be taken against opportunists who politicised the issue including Anwar himself.

He said the incidents must not be turned into a racial issue which could create tension and threaten national security.

On the suggestion by social activist and International Movement for a Just World (JUST) president Dr Chandra Muzaffar that a national harmony consultative council be set up to discuss sensitive religious issues, he said he would discuss it with Dr Chandra before a decision could be made by the authorities concerned.

Hishammuddin also welcomed suggestions from the public on how to strengthen racial and religious relations in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Ismail called on the public with any information on the church attacks to contact the nearest police station to give a statement.

“So far, (social networking website) Facebook has some information but we must ensure that it is true.

“No particular witness has come to us with information. But we have to be very careful with any information received, as we want to get the right person,” he said.