Penang police have given assurances that the safety of places of religious worship in Penang are secure and under control. Penang state government is deeply concerned about press reports that places of religious worship in Penang has been targeted by terrorist militants with links to Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah(JI).
As Penang possesses the largest number of temples in Malaysia, it was reported in English papers that some of the prominent ones such as the internationally renowned Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Itam has been targeted by militants led by Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
I had spoken to Penang CPO Dato Wira Ayub Yaakob and he said that there have been increased surveillance and patrols by the police in places of religious worship since reports surfaced last week, particularly around Kek Lok Si Guan Yin Temple. More police personnel had also been sent to Penang, including a helicopter patrolling Penang. The helicopter will be on air until August 14 to ensure heightened security for Penang.
Datuk Wira Ayub said the police had not alerted the public as it did not want to trigger any public alarm that may affect our daily economic life. He urged that the public co-operate by making police reports of any suspicious activity. Penang North-East District OCPD Gan Kong Meng is handling this surveillance and monitoring in Penang Island and any reports can be made to the police hotline at 04-2282222.
Penang state government urges the public to continue with their daily lives and be observant of any suspicious activity. We will continue to monitor the situation with the police until the militants are tracked down by the police in Indonesia or in Malaysia.