No hate-crimes law, but a harmony commission instead

P Waytha Moorthy said the Cabinet felt that hate crimes could be dealt with under the Penal Code.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has decided not to table two proposed laws on national harmony and will instead look at setting up a National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission.

National unity minister P Waytha Moorthy said the Cabinet had agreed on this to avoid overlapping of current laws.

He said the Cabinet had looked at drafts of the Racial and Religious Hate Crime Bill and the National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill.

Waytha Moorthy said provisions in the draft, such as inciting hatred towards the royal institution, race and religion, and any acts that will cause physical harm based on race or religion, have been found to overlap with current laws.

“All the suggested provisions can be amended into the Penal Code,” he said while wrapping his closing speech on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The government was reported to have agreed last year to table the two bills as a means of strengthening inter-racial relations.

Waytha Moorthy, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, has responsibility for national unity and social well-being.

He said the government preferred to set up the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission rather than enact new laws.

However, he said that feedback from all sectors was needed before the commission is finalised to ensure that this proposal is accepted by all.

“Only after that, a memorandum will be prepared for consideration and approval of the Cabinet,” he added.