Racism has to be opposed from the top down — Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star


Dr. Azmi Sharom is a law teacher.

DEMOCRACY takes power away from the few, or the one, and places it in the hands of the many. Which is why we hear phrases like “people power” and “returning power to the people” bandied around when speaking about democratic reform.

Theoretically, if there is a free press, fairly delineated constituencies, independent state agencies and a respect for human rights, then the government of the day will be a reflection of the will of the people.

We, the ordinary men and women, choose our leaders. We can also “fire” them by voting them out. Therefore, we have ultimate power.

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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

Religion makes racism more intense, says Saifuddin

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Any form of racism in the country becomes more intense when it is coupled with religious sentiment, former Umno leader and CEO for the Global Movement of Moderates  Saifuddin Abdullah said in an opinion piece in Sinar Harian today.

The Pakatan Harapan secretariat chief added that this race-religion narrative was being created by some leaders in Umno in collaboration with certain religious leaders, including a mufti or two.

“Making use of a siege mentality framework, they call on Malays and Muslims to defend Islam,” Saifuddin wrote in the Bahasa Malaysia daily.

He said that the result of such actions is the “outbreak” of controversial issues, including the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims, the confiscation of bibles, the protest against religious symbols, the declaration of DAP as “kafir harbi”, and the latest issue over the “hot dog”. Read more

Smartphone app to report racism

Source: FMT News

Pusat Komas launches 'Report Racism MY', an app for Malaysians to report incidents of racism and collate data for studies. Pic from FMT News.

Pusat Komas launches ‘Report Racism MY’, an app for Malaysians to report incidents of racism and collate data for studies. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Local NGO Pusat Komas today launched “Report Racism MY”, a smartphone app for Malaysians to report cases of racism.

Apart from allowing Malaysians to submit reports of racist incidents, the complaints will also be collated into data that will be published in next year’s Racial Discrimination Report.

“The only way to transform (society) is to know how bad the situation is. Most times we only remember one or two incidents, and keep repeating them over and over again,” noted Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Jerald Joseph.

“So it is good that (the situation) is balanced by innovative ideas. While we generate the sad painful list of complaints, we also get new ideas how to overcome it.” Read more

Racism and the Malaysian drug war — Fifa Rahman

Source: The Malay Mail Online

By Fifa Rahman

OCT 11 — There’s a fantastic documentary on Netflix called 13th which talks about the high levels of incarceration of black people in the US, and talks about Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan’s “War on Drugs” as a genocide decimating young coloured communities.

In Malaysia, the “War on Drugs” isn’t often thought about in racial terms.

Politically, racism is recognised in other things — like lackadaisical attitudes towards people who protest the building of new churches, preventing the translation of Bibles into Malay, proposing things like halal and non-halal trolleys.

But the fact is, poor Malay communities are disproportionately the key targets of the War on Drugs in Malaysia.

Their houses are barged into, children watch as their fathers are taken away, or they cry and scream as social workers take them away from their mothers, because they think that a woman who uses drugs is an unfit mother and it simply would be too much work to provide her with support.

We’ve got to remember that UNODC statistics show that worldwide, only, 11.14 per cent of all drug use is problematic. Read more

Is racism the Malaysian norm? — Kua Kia Soong

Source: FMT


Ever since the news broke about the residents at Waja Apartments in Taman Tun Perak, Cheras openly displaying a banner calling for realtors to refrain from renting condominium units to African tenants (“Say No to African People”), I have waited to see if there would be protests by Malaysians, especially politicians and community leaders, against this blatant racism.

I was sadly disappointed. After all this time, it is only former Miss Malaysia-Universe Deborah Henry who has protested against this blatant racism, saying it is unfair to generalise and stereotype a community for the mistakes of a few.

“There’s a thin line between racism and discrimination. One bad person doesn’t equate to an entire community.” She criticised the action of displaying racist banners in residential areas as unhealthy, saying that instead, these issues need to be dealt with appropriately. It has been reported that such banners against Africans have cropped up in Shah Alam and the Sunway area as well. Read more

Lives can be ruined by religious-tinged racism – Mariam Mokhtar

Source: FMT News


The claim that Islamic law affects only Muslims does not ring true.

As the conference on overcoming racism, organised by Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia, gets underway in Melbourne, some people may be wondering how to counter the racism in Malaysia, which is tinged with religious undertones.

My Filipina and Indonesian friends say that during Ramadhan, they have been embarrassed when religious officials question them for eating in public in the daytime. My Catholic friends from Sabah and Sarawak have often been mistaken for Muslims.

They also claim that on a few occasions, they have not received a warm reception from restaurateurs who serve non-halal food. They say the proprietors want them to finish their meal quickly and leave because they want to avoid unwanted attention from religious officials, who may barge into the premises and accuse them of serving non-halal food to Muslims. It’s not good for business.

Religious officials forget that Ibans or Kadazans may look Malay, but they are not. The same goes with some Malaysians of mixed Indian and Chinese parentage. Read more

NGO concerned over racial profiling of criminals

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Komas Director Jerald Joseph - TMI file pic

Komas Director Jerald Joseph – TMI file pic

PETALING JAYA, March 21 — The “trend” of racialising criminality indicates increasing racial discrimination in Malaysia, a human rights group said today.

Pusat Komas was referring to the brawl at Low Yat Plaza and demonstration at Kota Raya last year, where incidents of mobile phone theft and cheating at the respective malls in the city centre had turned into racially charged issues.

“In 2015, a new trend of racial discrimination became evident when several incidents of criminal acts were used to justify racial discrimination and stir up unrest among different races,” Pusat Komas said in its inaugural report on racial discrimination here today. Read more

Peninsular Malaysians ‘average or selectively’ racist, NGO’s racism index shows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 ― Malaysians in the peninsula are “average or “selectively” racist, Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said today, citing findings from a recent survey conducted for its Racism Index.

According to the index unveiled this morning, peninsular Malaysians scored 59.1 per cent on the index, putting them in the “average or selectively racist” category, behind the categories “racist” and “moderately racist”.

Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said that the survey showed that although many Malaysians here do not see themselves racist, their answers appeared to indicate they still have racist tendencies.

“Despite what we say, we are generally and selectively racist in nature. We have shades of racism in us,” he said. Read more

BTN removes slides from website after caught with pants down

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Screen capture of one in a series of slides that BTN used to show that racism can unite a race for a ‘good purpose’.

Screen capture of one in a series of slides that BTN used to show that racism can unite a race for a ‘good purpose’.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — The National Civics Bureau (BTN) has pulled down a folder on its website which contained several presentation slides that were ridiculed by Malaysians online today.

As of this evening, the folder “PerkongsianDokumen” and its subfolder “Penerbitan” – which contained the slides – are no longer available online.

The whole of the website’s back-end however can still be accessed by the public and has not been secured. Read more