Locals’ outrage to crimes committed by foreigners here was betrayed by their readiness to accept offences by Malaysians elsewhere, Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief operating officer Tricia Yeoh said today.
Speaking during the Malaysian Freedom Summit here today organised by Institute for Leadership and Development Studies here, Yeoh noted how Malaysians became apologists for the likes of former diplomat Rizalman Ismail, who was charged with assault with intent to rape a 21-year-old woman in New Zealand.
“We saw a majority of them saying they (offenders) deserve a second chance. In this case, the Malaysian High Commission even attempted to seek diplomatic immunity for him,” Yeoh said.
She also cited the case of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) scholar Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, who was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment in the United Kingdom for possessing child pornography.
“In that case, they said give the student a second chance because he is a bright student,” she said.
Nine Australians stripped to swimming trunks emblazoned with the Malaysian flag during the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix post race celebrations in Sepang last weekend.
The nine were arrested and charged with public nuisance, before being released with a warning by the Sepang Sessions Court, but were roundly criticised for their actions.
Last year, 10 tourists stripped naked on Mount Kinabalu, eliciting a similar backlash.
“Where is the public morality when it comes to Malaysians committing crimes abroad?” Yeoh asked.
She pointed out that in the cases of Rizalman and Nur Fitri, the offences were more serious than the examples she cited, adding that the two cases involved harm to others.
“We must distinguish offence and harm,” she said.
She also said that Malaysians must learn to live with certain “discomforts” as they are bound to crop up in a multiracial society.
“The discomforts are going to be a regular thing,” she added.