Malays Most Racially Discriminated Group In Malaysia, Says Former Minister

Contrary to what some may believe, Malays are the most discriminated race in Malaysia, Mr Zaid Ibrahim said on Tuesday (March 21).

The former law minister said that while all ethnic groups in the country are prejudiced racially, none compare to the discrimination faced by Malays, especially on issues like khalwat or close proximity among men and women who are not married to each other or have no family relations.

“Non-Malays are not only the victims. I think the Malays are discriminated too. You think khalwat laws are not discriminating against the Malays.

“Most of the victims of discrimination in this country are Malays. Malays however unfortunately have low grade leaders leading them. They are taught false teachings or understandings,” Mr Zaid said during a forum on racial discrimination here.

The DAP member however added that many Malays fail to see this as they are disillusioned by the current crop of leaders.

“Discrimination happens to all of us. When a policy discriminates one, we have to take ownership

“My greatest fear for this county is Malays being given a false sense of power, ownership of the country. They will not be able to see for themselves. The Malays will be left out,” Mr Zaid said.

Ms Noor Farida Ariffin of the G25 civil group started by prominent Malay government pensioners who was also present, said that there were government institutions that undermined Putrajaya’s other efforts to promote racial harmony.

She named the National Civics Bureau, popularly known by its Malay abbreviation, as an example.

“Not only there is minor racism but there are institutions in government that covertly promoting racism.

“BTN’s course is supposed to promote national unity but instead is promoting Malay supremacy,” she said during the forum.

The former diplomat also said the National Economic Policy (NEP) was supposed to help the poor of all races, but instead was “hijacked” to promote a Malay agenda.

“The NEP has been hijacked. It is supposed to eradicate poverty but it has only concentrated on the Malay agenda,” Noor Farida said.

She added that though the Barisan Nasional coalition had formed a multiracial government, its component parties still played the racial card to garner voter support.

“Racial politics are entrenched in the country. Political parties are raced based. The government is making efforts to stamp out racism and promote unity, but the main partner in the ruling coalition is promoting racism, day in day out,” Ms Noor Farida said.

On Tuesday, a report was also released which found that discrimination based on the colour of one’s skin seems to be on the rise in Malaysia despite the government’s efforts to promote moderation and racial harmony.

The Racial Discrimination Report 2016 by non-profit social outfit Pusat Komas found that strained ethnic relations are growing although the National Unity Consultative Council has been working to bolster ties.

“Recent incidents of racial discrimination, racism and stained ethnic relations within the Malaysian society have increasingly surfaced over the years despite the Prime Minister’s numerous assurances and claims at home and abroad that the government promotes moderation in the country,” the report presented by programme coordinator Ryan Chua read.

The report added that the growth of social media has also made the racial divide further with more room for such negative sentiments to be propagated.

“The emergence of the Internet and social media platforms has provided more open spaces and platforms for widespread expression of racial sentiments and hate speech,” it read.

The report was based on news reports on racial discrimination in 2015 and 2016. It also found that many Malaysians were critical of the authorities for their “lack of enforcement and actions towards overt and public declarations of racial sentiments” by groups perceived as racial supremacist.

Among several recommendations, Pusat Komas urged the government to immediately sign and ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination under the United Nations to promote equality among Malaysians.

It also recommended harsher punishments for individuals, especially politicians, who make racially inciting statements.

“The government must be willing to impose heavy legal and formal sanctions on any government Minister’s, senior officers, elected representatives, organisations and groups, individuals… who exhibit racist and discriminatory tendencies and in speech and action,” the report read.

The report highlighted various cases of racial discrimination which happened over the past year which includes statements made by political figures like Umno grassroots leader Jamal Yunos and Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali.


Source: Today

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