PETALING JAYA: Those who are involved in the Sri Maha Mariamman temple incident will face the full force of the law, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

This would include the masterminds behind the violence and those who attempt to take advantage of the situation he said.

Mahathir said the government would not treat such incidents lightly as it could create greater problems and affect racial harmony.

“Any action taken against any party or individual will be fair and equitable,“ he said in Parliament during the motion to debate the temple issue.

He said it is important we all realise the peace and security of the country is our responsibility, and that we must strive to maintain peace.

Mahathir urged members of the public not to take any action or issue any provocative statements that could cause dissatisfaction.

“This is not the time to point fingers,” he said. “The police have been given the responsibility to control the situation and conduct investigations.

“The guilty will remain guilty and will face the appropriate legal action.”

The prime minister reiterated that the government had no intention to simply punish people, but everyone must understand that democracy has its boundaries.

Mahathir said although the government believes in the ‘Rule of Law’ but any party that violate it for their own benefit would face the full force of the law.

He added that the government would not tolerate any kind of action that will affect the peace and harmony of the country.

“I would like to emphasize again - this (the temple incident) was not a racial or religious issue but a criminal act that should not be given any space to spoil relations among races,“ he said.

He urged the public to stay calm and avoid in engaging in activities that can be the basis for “instigation” and sedition.

Mahathir said if there was any attempt to instigate the public, the government would take firm action against those involved.

He said the government would not impose any restrictions on the media and social media but this freedom should not be exploited to the extent that it leads to division and cause disharmony among the races.