Last week, a disturbing clip circulated across social media platforms, showing a man relentlessly sashaying to the porch of a random house where he proceeded to seize a statue of Lord Ganesha, a Hindu deity, and throw it into the dustbin.
A police report was made by the victim on the same day, and authorities were swift to take action, promptly arranging a manhunt for the accused with the help of angered netizens.
Today, the perpetrator, Gabriele Jungkak Anak Steward, pleaded guilty to committing mischief under Section 427 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum five-year prison term or a fine or both.
The 23-year-old restaurant worker was fined RM2,500 today after he admitted to carrying out the offence in Senai, Johor, on May 15.
If he fails to pay the fine, he will be sentenced to another three months in prison.
He was convicted for uprooting and damaging a Hindu statue attached to TS Dineshwaran’s water fountain before throwing it into a trash can located at the porch area of the home.
Gabriele, who was not defended in court, informed the magistrates’ court in Kulai that he disposed of the Lord Ganesha statue because it “disturbed” him when he walked by it, according to the Malaysian Gazette.
He told the court that he had previously damaged other ornamental sculptures in the same manner.
The offender was urged by Magistrate Shariffa Maleeha Syed Hussin to embrace coexisting with other communities and to be mindful of other people’s property.
Netizens share a similar outlook on the matter, saying that societal peace and harmony can only exist if individuals do their part to understand and respect other cultures and religious practices, especially when one resides in a multiracial nation.