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Project Stability and Accountability for Malaysia (Projek SAMA) calls on both the state and society to separate violence from protest and boycott. Law enforcement should aim primarily at prevention of intensification of hatred and acts of violence, not suppression of politically incorrect opinions if they are peacefully expressed.

Projek SAMA urges the authorities and members of the public to separate the right, impact, and means, in protest and boycott, and consistently apply the 3D principles.

First, commit to DEFEND the right to protest and boycott, even if we disagree with the causes. Every consumer’s right to support or reject any business must be respected. No one should be investigated and charged under the Sedition Act or other ambiguously worded laws which allow selective prosecution. Even divisive campaigns driven by political, business, and personal gains, should be neutralised by cross-communal solidarity and social sanctions, like the #MZB365 campaign, not by expanded (and often inconsistent) law enforcement.

Second, allow room to DELIBERATE on the impact and desirability of protest and boycott. Even if a cause is noble, the means may not produce a desirable outcome. Hence, everyone must be allowed to evaluate, question, and even disagree with a campaign. Instead of name-calling each other, supporters or opponents of a protest or boycott should civilly engage the other camp and win them over.

Third, form solidarity to DENOUNCE violence. Protest and boycott should be expanded by peaceful persuasion, not by use or threat of violence to force others to join. Regardless of our position on any cause, we must condemn violence, intimidation, and intense hatred. We must not conveniently turn a blind eye when violence is used by those whose positions we share. Violence begets violence through imitation: if a neighbourhood has many broken windows, it sends a signal that law and order has broken down, and one can break a window with impunity. Eventually, all windows may be broken.

Projek SAMA underlines that adopting double or multiple standards in both law enforcement and public opinion is a threat to stability and peace. Hypocrisy will fuel the victimhood game and destroy trust between communities and between citizens and public authorities.

Projek SAMA firmly supports the struggle for freedom, peace, and justice for Palestine, and can empathise with the boycott campaign. But we denounce violence, threats, or intimidation used in any campaign.

Projek SAMA commends the Police for arresting, on Saturday (April 13), three men who threatened a family who patronised the McDonald’s outlet at Sungai Isap, Kuantan. We hope the arrested persons will be charged in court. Perpetrators of vandalism, against a Starbucks outlet in Tawau on April 18 https://www.freemalaysiatoda’, and earlier on a KK Supermart outlet as viralled on social media, should also face the music.

Projek SAMA is disturbed by the inability of the Police to make any arrest despite the passing of 2-3 weeks since the terrorist attacks with Molotov cocktails against three KK outlets in Bidor (March 26), Kuantan (March 30) and Kuching (March 31). The Police must also update the public on when charges will be pressed against the terrorism suspects who nearly killed MP Ngeh Koo Ham and his wife by setting fire to their home on January 10, also with Molotov cocktails.

Projek SAMA urges Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to be tough on violence. No foreign investor would be impressed if they see many broken windows in Malaysia. The call by one of his aides for 10 Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) to expedite probes on 3Rs (race, religion, and royalty) is a wrong prescription when Molotov cocktail terrorism is left unattended.

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