Home Civil Society Voices 2013 Civil Society Voices Say ‘No’ to racial politics

Say ‘No’ to racial politics

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Pusat KOMAS and Ratify ICERD working group are greatly troubled by how the analysis of the GE-13 has been based on ethnic lines.

Stop Racism poster

We believe that an election loss or win is caused by a combination of factors, namely, the performance of incumbents, parties as well as promises made. We denounce the statement of the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam for calling it a “Chinese Tsunami”. It is the people’s tsunami.

The current elections showed the true meaning of the people’s power in putting the candidates they feel best represents them in the Parliament, and despite the systemic electoral fraud that happened, the people’s voice was still strong in sending a message. It is wrong for the politicians of the current ruling government to say that it was the Chinese who caused the tsunami as this is not true, as many seats also had wins or losses when the majority was of other communities. To prove the case, the opposition won with a big margin, for example in Gelang Patah and Serdang where the percentage of Malay voters are close to 40 per cent.

With 85 per cent percent of voters coming out to vote in the current elections, being the highest turnout in Malaysian history, this election was about the aspirations of people in wanting change and the politics of the nation to shift away from race-based politics. We are reaffirmed of this by the failure of Zulkifli Noordin and Ibrahim Ali to win in their constituencies, as it shows that it does not pay to be a racist and this brand of politics and ideology is rejected by all ethnicities in Malaysia.

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The country has long passed the era where race and religion was the main weapon by politicians to get the support of people. People are focusing on bigger issues now which are plaguing the country such as corruption, abuse of power, transparency and many others, and demanding answers from the leaders of the country. There is a new shift in national politics that redefines ethnic relations and goes beyond it in Malaysia. The government must bear the responsibility to educate, reformulate and change society instead of reinforcing racial stereotypes in politics. This must stop.

We strongly condemn these irresponsible statements by leaders and ask them to be more responsible “statesmen” and act on behalf of all Malaysians and not of any particular ethnic group.

In Malaysia today, civil society organisations have been advocating that the Malaysian government ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The ICERD is a United Nations (UN) human rights convention which commits its members to the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of equality and unity among all races. The government needs to be a government of all Malaysians, not only in rhetoric, but to actually play a fully representative role of the nation.

For more information on the Campaign/Convention, visit the Facebook page. at

Please support the cause to ratify the convention by going to the link.

KOMAS, IRF and Projek Dialog together with other civil society organisations have initiated a campaign to advocate the Malaysian government to ratify the ICERD.

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