Report: Racial discrimination in Malaysia growing despite Putrajaya’s efforts

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Pusat Komas recommended harsher punishments for individuals, especially politicians, who make racially inciting statements. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

Pusat Komas recommended harsher punishments for individuals, especially politicians, who make racially inciting statements. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

PETALING JAYA, March 21 — 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 released tonight 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. Read more

Politicians are using ‘network’ of hate speech to gain power


HAKAM Comment: We must continue to be aware of such “networks of hate”, as well as guard against and counter all forms of hate speech.

Source: Asian Correspondent

IN the global growing atmosphere of increasing hate speech, the lines are more blurred now than they have historically been.

Gone are the days of leaders and politicians taking to the pulpit to openly condemn any one group as the root of all national problems and calling for their removal – the days of the Hitler-esque approach are thankfully over – but the hate is still there and being disseminated in just as an effective and possibly more pervasive manner.

More sophisticated methods are used these days by those seeking power to garner support and curry favour with a particular demographic, methods that ultimately absolve them of any direct responsibility should hate crimes occur.

A “network” of hate is being cultivated to spread the message using multiple actors such as paid media, paid “experts”, party funders, extremist groups and junior politicians, as has been seen in a number of cases in Asia and across the globe.

“Multiple actors produce a climate of rising intolerance in an uncoordinated but mutually reinforcing way,” Cherian George, associate professor of journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University and author of Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracytold Asian Correspondent. Read more

No need for hate speech laws, lawyers say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― Laws on hate speech are not necessary, lawyers said amid a spate of arrests over social media posts on late PAS spiritual leader Datuk Haron Din deemed insulting to Islam.

Responding to questions whether laws to specifically address hate speech should be introduced, the lawyers said clearly defining existing legislation on the subject was sufficient to punish offenders.

They also said this would remove the current ambiguity in such laws that made them open to abusive interpretations.

“Currently the these provisions are just too vague and broad. It has be more specific,” civil liberties lawyer New Sin Yew told Malay Mail Online, pointing out that it must be determined what kind of speech is considered to be a threat to order and safety.

New pointed out the death threats received online by BFM journalist Aisyah Tajuddin last year, after her remarks about hudud, as an example of comments that can be considered threatening and required police action.

“But you cannot use it against a politician because he said something that is just rude. It is rude, not a matter of security,” New said, while pointing out that many citizens are not aware of the existence of these vague laws.

“People need to know what they can do and what they can’t do,” he said.

Laws criminalising speech deemed insulting came into the spotlight again after DAP’s Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi and former journalist Sidek Kamiso were arrested over tweets on Haron. Read more