No getting rid of racism entirely, says Salleh

Former federal minister Salleh Said Keruak.

PETALING JAYA: Former federal minister Salleh Said Keruak today responded to the remark by his ex-Cabinet colleague Hishammuddin Hussein that unity in diversity is “painfully difficult to attain”, saying a certain level of racism will always exist in every country.

“You cannot totally eliminate racism. You can only reduce and contain it,” he said in a blog post.

“This must be the focus of political and social leaders.”

He said the problem is that the “unity in diversity” maxim in Malaysia is given only lip service.

“There needs to be sincerity and not mere sloganeering if you wish to see your vision and mission bearing results,” he added.

Yesterday, in a speech at a talk on multiculturalism and nation-building read by his nephew Mohd Rhiza Ghazi, Hishammuddin urged Malaysians to stand firm in rejecting the politics of hate.

The Semborong MP also called on leaders to understand the need for patience and wisdom in handling issues.

Salleh, a former Sabah chief minister, said it is easy to blame others for acts of racism or religious intolerance.

“But we need to ask whether we are also equally guilty of this same offence. It takes two hands to clap.

“The fact that we still talk about the Malays, Bumiputeras, Malaysian Chinese and Indians, and natives of Sabah and Sarawak means we still look at one another through racial lenses.”