Pusat Komas strongly calls all Malaysians to embrace the common principles of humanity – to respect one another in the spirit of equality.
Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim’s uncalled racist-cum-sexist slur in the Parliament sitting on 13 July 2020, in telling Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto to apply powder because of her dusky skin colour is totally unacceptable and must be reprimanded to prevent the repetition of any similar incidents.g
The gruesome death suffered by George Floyd at the knees of racists is a mirage of a society that silently endorses and brews the ideology of racial supremacism – us vs them. This rhetoric has created an imaginary distinction between human beings on the grounds of ethnicity, religious beliefs, language, sexual orientation, gender amongst many others. Sparking an international outcry, the resistance emerged as a clarion call to the world community to demand that the chains of discrimination be ended.
Dismayed Malaysians have expressed their solidarity against racism under the ballooning #BlackLivesMatter’s social media campaign. Apart from that, Malaysians have also criticised Lim Kok Wing’s “King of Africa” billboard for projecting himself as the saviour of Africans. Locally, insensitive remarks by an ex-Miss Universe of Malaysia against the black protesters received a tirade of backlash from netizens.
One would have thought that Malaysians are now aware of the negative impacts of the ideology of racial supremacy by joining hands to denounce such acts; however, the inter-ethnic solidarity was seemingly ephemeral and applicable to international hostility against a minority only. A cursory reading would reveal to us of many devastating incidents in close proximity that need severe attention. Apart from the Baling MP’s uncalled statement in Parliament, Selangor markets have now adopted a regressive step in prohibiting migrant workers in these premises under the blanket of combating Covid-19.
This outburst was preceded by some xenophobic and race-motivated events in the last few weeks when the government suggested the banning of foreigners and refugees from mosques – a holy place that is supposed to be free from bias, prejudice, hatred and social status. In addition, the sudden cancellation of appointments of an advisory council appears to be a decision taken to appease conservative religious groups.
Pusat Komas strongly calls all Malaysians to embrace the common principles of humanity – to respect one another in the spirit of equality. Mere sloganeering at the political level remains a hollow shell that does little to undo existing systemic racism.
As Malaysians, let our voices be that power to strike out racism from our midst – from the halls of Parliament, from online social media platforms and from our private homes.