GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan has urged the police to put an immediate stop to vigilantism in Penang.
Its vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said he was told of a very disturbing video, which was uploaded on the Youtube video sharing platform yesterday.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of racist incidents against foreigners in Malaysia by individuals and also certain groups. These people have been posting unsavoury comments against refugees in particular but their action could explode into blatant hatred against all foreigners — particularly migrant workers, if left unchecked.
“The police must put an immediate stop to such forms of vigilantism which has been carried out by individuals and groups,” he said today.
The video, titled “Isu Warga Asing Di Penang, Tok Singa Terjah Kedai Warga Asing” (Foreigners in Penang: Tok Singa storms a foreigner’s shop) has since garnered almost 10,000 views.
In the 13 minute 54 seconds video, an individual who calls himself Tok Singa, can be heard announcing that he planned to raid and confront foreigners who operated business outlets in Penang.
He was then seen walking into a sundry shop before approaching a woman who was at the cashier’s counter. He, along with several others, then proceeded to interrogate her on who she is, her nationality and so on.
The Tok Singa character was then heard lecturing the woman on how foreigners cannot operate businesses on the island. He was even seen checking her passport and other permits and licences.
The man later claimed he was not out to cause trouble but merely wanted to create awareness on his claims that foreigners were marrying locals to monopolise businesses.
Baljit said the group was also seen confronting other individuals by the roadside, who identified themselves as Myanmar refugees, and demanding for their UNHCR cards.
He added that the group then threatened the individuals, making it clear that they “don’t want to see their faces there again.” They also demanded to know if the individuals were Muslims and forced them to recite the “syahadah”.
“Their action clearly speaks of racial provocation and the authorities cannot turn a blind eye to what has happened.
“Malaysians must never fall into the racist trap being spewed by certain groups and individuals like this Tok Singa character who has embarked on a vigilant style of activism by confronting individuals and barging into business outlets.
“We urge the police to immediately look into what has happened and haul in those who were involved in the incident seen in the video.
“We are Malaysians and we all love our country. We don’t like foreigners taking over businesses and not following the law but we also cannot support such acts,” he added.
The New Straits Times has approached state police chief Datuk Sahabudin Abdul Manan for comments on the matter, and is awaiting his response.