It has been quite a horrifying weekend for Kuala Lumpur residents as a melee erupted at Low Yat Plaza after a group of youths attacked workers on the ground floor of the popular IT mall on Saturday (11th July).
Apparently, they were seeking revenge against the sales clerks who caught them shoplifting and turned one of them over to the police earlier that day. The commotion and the fight were caught on a video that went viral on social media.
Kuala Lumpur CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Zainuddin Ahmad told reporters that the thugs “entered the shop at 7.50pm and began smashing the glass display, flipping over cabinets, and smashing phones and other electronic products”. The sales clerks tried to stop them, but ended up in an all-out brawl on the ground floor of the shopping mall.
And that’s not all. This led to another group of about 100 people who protested outside the plaza at 6:30pm on Sunday (12th July). The group had gathered to protest what they claimed was “biased investigations” by the police.
Several arrests have since been made and a 22-year-old man, believed to be at the centre of an incident that sparked off a brawl and riot at Low Yat Plaza, has been charged with theft.
As for Low Yat Plaza, according to The Star Online, the mall is back to its bustling and vibrant self with all its retailers opening for business. Shops were seen opened at 10am with customers and tourists flocking the mall, surveying the gadgets they were interested in. A security guard working there said that things were pretty much back to normal and all outlets except one – the Oppo outlet involved in the fracas on Saturday – were up and running.
Azlan Shah, a salesman, said it was time for Malaysians to move forward and put the incident behind them – but not without learning lessons from it.
The Star Online quoted him as saying:
I have been working here for years and have never felt scared until what happened on Sunday. I was scared for myself, I was scared for my Chinese friends. I cannot say there are no cheating cases here, but if you really want to talk about it, such cases exist everywhere. Anyone can cheat so it is clearly not a racial issue. We must focus on racial unity.
A saleswoman, who only wished to be identified as Sammy Looi, 31, said the riot had led most retailers at the complex to close their shops for fear of their safety.
We had to close our shop for two days. Some of us lost a lot of money but safety is more important. I would like to remind Malaysians – it doesn’t matter whether you are a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan – the most important thing is not to take the law into your own hands. At the end of the day, we all bleed red. We breathe the same air. Think of those who were not involved but who were also made to suffer.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has condemned the Low Yat Plaza brawl, stating that the fighting should’ve have happened in a multi-racial society like Malaysia.
He regretted that the incident took place during the month of Ramadan, adding that fasting was not only about abstaining from food, but other temptations as well.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said:
One of the teachings on fasting is to not follow one’s “nafsu” (desires). Muslims must show everyone that Islam is a religion of peace. We should not stay away from others just because they are embracing other religions. They never stop us from performing our duties, including praying and administrating the country. Therefore, we should also respect the non-Muslims in their way of praying.
He added that everyone must maintain peace and “berunding” (negotiate) in times of trouble.