Hornbill Unleashed

March 23, 2017

Racism rife in 2016, says human rights group

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

racismDespite Putrajaya’s efforts to encourage racial harmony, discrimination in Malaysia remained rampant last year, a report has found.

The Malaysian Racial Discrimination Report 2016 compiled by Pusat Komas revealed that instances of racial discrimination were highest during the Sarawak state election last year.

“In 2016, racial discrimination reared its ugly head most prominently during the polls.

“For example, during the Sarawak state election, racial politics was used to garner votes. Political leaders who often claimed to be opponents of racial politics had also used the racial card to trump their political adversaries,” Pusat Komas programme coordinator Ryan Chua said.

One example of such racial politics was practised by SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian, the report said. He had urged the Chinese to back the party’s candidates so as to have a Chinese representative in the state administration.

“He highlighted that a Barisan Nasional government that comprised of only Bumiputeras was unhealthy and dangerous. Hence, it was essential to back SUPP candidates in the polls.”

The report said opposition parties also played the racial card during the Sarawak polls.

This included PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who had said it was the Islamist party’s wish that the post of Sarawak chief minister be always held by a Bumiputera Muslim.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) also appeared in the report for having a membership policy that was discriminatory in nature.

“Its president Muhyiddin Yassin stated that non-Bumiputeras who join the party will only be allowed second-tier membership and they will be called ‘associate members’.

“They have the same rights except that they cannot vote or contest for posts in the party.”

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu, G25 spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin and Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph were present at the launch of the report at Gerakbudaya, here yesterday.

The report was launched in conjunction with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2017.

Noor Farida said racism appeared to be systemic in the country with certain government institutions “covertly” supporting it.

“For example, the National Civics Bureau (BTN) is supposed to promote national unity. But instead, it does the opposite. It is being used to promote Malay supremacy.”

Noor Farida said the first step towards racial harmony was education, and the separation of national schools according to vernacular type did not help matters.

“I’m all for the one-school system. I don’t think we should encourage the existence of vernacular schools. If the children are going to be Malaysians, they should study and play together.

There must also be more efforts to protect racial harmony in the country, she said.

“In a multiracial country, we cannot have a situation where one race is imposing its moral values on others.

“There must be racial tolerance and respect among the people. We really need to make the effort to promote racial tolerance in the country.”

Source : Tarrence Tan  @ FMT Online



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