Two Malay rights activists defaced a few street signs in Penang last night as the signs carried translations in Chinese.
Activists Mohd Firdaus Mohd Adnan, better known as “Tok Singa”, and Azmi Jaafar were seen in a live video broadcast on Facebook blacking out Chinese translations of street names.
Tok Singa reminded local authorities that Malay, as the official language as stated in the Federal Constitution, should be upheld as the main language for all signs.
“This is not China…this is Tanah Melayu. Use Malay, have some respect,” he said as he spray-painted over the Chinese translation of Gat Lebuh Armenian in the heritage quarter.
The pair are shown in the video looking for more street signs with translations.
The video has since been set to limited views on Facebook but was uploaded on YouTube by Tok Singa.
Azmi, who is leader of the PAS Jalan Mengkuang branch, said while not all street signs have been translated, the Penang government appeared to be “testing the market” by slowly translating more street names into Chinese.
He said the “test” appeared to be working, as more signs are being translated into Chinese.
He said this was too much as there were other transgressions when the Penang government allowed crosses on buildings and dogs in parks, further “infuriating Muslims”.
“When people scold the people who walk their dogs in public parks, they say there are no signboards banning them. What kind of city council is this?
“This is clearly a council that does not take care of the interests and sensitivities of Malays and Muslims,” he said.
He hoped the blacking-out of Chinese translations would be a lesson to the state government, accusing it of being “keen on promoting disharmony”.
He said: “We should be prioritising the use of the Malay language, first and foremost.”
The Penang Island City Council said it was regrettable that its street signs had been defaced. A police report has been lodged.
Northeast district police chief Soffian Santong said two police reports were received and the case would be investigated for committing mischief, making statements conducive to public mischief, and sharing offensive content online.
Tok Singa told FMT that he and Azmi had been summoned to the Patani Road police station for questioning at 9pm. He was told that he would be arrested.
He defended his actions, adding that the authorities have to be fair by translating the street signs into Chinese and Tamil, or just leave it in Malay.
Tok Singa had previously courted controversy when he went on a hunt for foreigners with businesses in Penang in late June, when there was rising discontent among foreign workers.
It was reported that he had threatened to “raid” all shops run by foreigners. – FMT