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’ concept by the Prime Minister, the social cohesion that we have been working to build and sportsmanship altogether.
For the past few months, we have been witnessing an increase in 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 the society to persevere in overcoming the aftermaths of the Covid-19 pandemic and because it has sowed discord among the members of the 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 addressing the issues of racism and racial discrimination in Malaysia rather than responding to issues after it has been blown out of proportion. The Ministry should address racial and religious issues on social media, including monitoring and enforcement 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 their stance in standing against all forms of racism in Malaysia through their actions through policies and initiatives that benefit all ethnic groups and not merely regurgitate the notion of “Keluarga Malaysia” in all their speeches and statements.
Additionally, the response made by the Youth and Sports Minister and The Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM)’s Vice President, Ahmad Faizal Azumu against his party member who was connected to the issue is welcomed. However, this is not an isolated incident as many other individuals who are 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 that exhibit racist and discriminatory tendencies in speech and actions.
We urge all Malaysians to come together to condemn and fight against racism in all sectors to ensure that a progressive and inclusive nation is built. Only then can we truly call ourselves “Keluarga Malaysia”. Enough of slogans, time to walk the talk.
4 October 2021