The recent racially charged statement made by a ruling party government-affiliated political party member against a national badminton player was uncalled for.
It goes against the spirit of the recently announced “keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian family) concept by the prime minister and will erode the social cohesion that we have been working to build and the spirit of sportsmanship.
For the past few months, we have been witnessing an increase in the number of individuals, groups and political parties stoking racial and religious sentiments, be it out of ignorance or on purpose. We rebuke this approach now more than ever as we need much more cohesion in society to persevere in overcoming the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and because it has sowed discord in society.
We applaud the steps taken by the Ministry of National Unity in responding to the issue; however, we believe that the ministry could have done more in tackling racism and racial discrimination in Malaysia rather than responding to issues after they have been blown out of proportion.
The ministry should tackle racial and religious issues on social media, including monitoring, enforcing and educating the public on the ethics and laws of using social media as highlighted in the national unity blueprint, which was released in February 2021.
The Malaysian government should reiterate its stance in standing against all forms of racism in Malaysia through its actions and through policies and initiatives that benefit all ethnic groups – and not merely regurgitate the notion of “keluarga Malaysia” in speeches and statements.
The response made by the youth and sports minister and Bersatu vice-president Ahmad Faizal Azumu against his party member who was connected to the issue is welcome. However, this is not an isolated incident, as many other individuals representing other political parties were found to incite racial and religious sentiments without repercussions.
We call upon all these political parties to impose formal sanctions in line with international human rights norms on any members or leaders who exhibit racist and discriminatory tendencies in speech and action.
We urge all Malaysians to come together to condemn and fight racism in all sectors to ensure that a progressive and inclusive nation is built. Only then can we truly call ourselves a Malaysian family.
Enough of slogans, time to walk the talk. – Pusat Komas