Pusat KOMAS applauds the Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador’s acknowledgment that the rise of racial and religious hatred in the nation today are caused by politicians who were playing the race and religious cards.

For far too long, race and religion were used by politicians to “divide and rule” to win the support of the people. Even though the Pakatan Harapan government recognized the severity of the use of race and religion by political opponents to pit one race with the other, they were unable to effectively address this issue. Efforts by the government to promote national unity and social cohesion were met with loud opposition by groups like Ummah, PAS and UMNO who manipulated those noble efforts into a race and religion issue; instigating the people in the process. Instead of defending their decisions to promote national unity and social cohesion, the current government succumbed to the calls and demands of these groups.

Efforts have to be undertaken to counter the growing threat of the rise of racial and religious hatred in Malaysia. As a start, the Parliament should consider the option of sanctioning politicians who continuously manipulate/deviate the issues debated in the parliament into a racial and religious issue. Furthermore, the Pakatan Harapan government should be firm with its narrative to promote a more inclusive nation as highlighted in their manifesto.

It is now time for Malaysia to move beyond the racial and religious lens and to address the root causes of the issues. Elected politicians and political parties need to be matured enough to not jeopardise the nation building process of Malaysia just for their political survival. We need to be united as Malaysians to create an inclusive society that maintains the harmony of a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia.

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