KUALA LUMPUR: The prime minister has urged Malaysians not to give in to mob mentality in the wake of the riot at Low Yat Plaza here on Sunday night.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the public should stay calm and let the authorities carry out proper investigations into the riot, which was sparked after a theft and fighting at the plaza on Saturday.
“Don’t give in to mob psychology. When something happens, don’t follow blindly without knowing all the facts,” he told reporters here. Police have confirmed that the incident was sparked by rumours and lies spread on social media.
This happened after a simple case of a mobile phone theft was twisted into a racial incident and spread all over the web. Najib said the matter should be seen as a criminal act rather than a problem of worsening race relations.
“In these instances, it is easy to see things from the perspective of race. “A crime became a racially-charged situation, which should not have happened.”
He branded those who spread inaccurate facts on social media as “irresponsible” and called on police to investigate the circulation of false news online.
“There were many pictures uploaded on to the Internet which had no relevance to the incident whatsoever.” “People should not be so quick to accept what they see or read on social media.
“Don’t be so easily fooled… stay calm and let the authorities deal with the situation.”
He also said there was a need to review whether there was too much freedom on social media, in response to a question on whether the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission had acted too slowly.
“Right now, we have freedom on social media. Perhaps there is too much freedom… This is something we should be studying in detail,” Najib said.
He was speaking after distributing RM200 in cash aid as well as food packs to some 300 homeless people at a temporary service centre for the homeless near Jalan Sultan Ismail.