Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) to pipe down, days after the Muslim NGO trained its guns on non-Muslims.
The former prime minister said comments by Isma's leaders were not constructive.
His admonitions were in response to Isma labelling the Chinese as "trespassers" and calling for the Islamic penal code hudud to be imposed on all Malaysians.
"He should keep the comments to himself. They are not doing any good to this country," he said at a press conference after launching the "Reminiscences of Insurrection: Malaysia's Battle against Terrorism 1960-1990" a coffee table book by Lt Col (R) Mohd Azzam Mohd Hanif Ghows, at Wisma Perwira in Kuala Lumpur, today.
Saying Isma's statements were not helping to maintain peace, Dr Mahathir said the Chinese in the country are Malaysian citizens who have rights.
"We don't need people to instigate racial riots and things like that," he said.
On Isma's proposal that hudud should be applied to all, the country's longest-serving premier pointedly told the group to "follow the Quran".
"If he had read the Quran properly, it says God does not like people who create huru hara or turmoil.
"So he should follow the Quran," Dr Mahathir said, referring to Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman’s latest remarks that the Islamic penal code should be imposed on all Malaysians, and not only Muslims.
Dr Mahathir said those who cause racial and religious tensions have failed to learn from history.
"People are not learning from the past. There is no benefit in causing tension, confrontation and instability. Why fight? You will kill each other in the end, and what do you get?"
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in a difficult situation in trying to quell the rising racial religious tensions.
"He's trying to do a good job but it's a very difficult situation. You (voters) did not give him a strong enough mandate," he said, referring to the last year’s general election results which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional government repeating its weak perfomance, returning to power with simple majority.
"On the one hand you want liberalisation, and when we are liberal, it is misused. If you take action, we are accused of not being liberal," he added. – May 9, 2014.