NGO calls on govt to focus on eradicating racism, discrimination

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (left) and Suhakam commissioner Madeline Berma during the launch of Pusat Komas’ Malaysia Racial Discrimination Report 2019 at a hotel in Petaling Jaya today.

PETALING JAYA: Pusat Komas is calling on the government to intensify efforts to eradicate racism and discrimination at all levels of society.

The NGO, which promotes equality and the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in Malaysia, launched its Malaysia Racial Discrimination Report 2019 today — the fifth edition of the annual report.

At a forum to mark the report’s launch today, the group urged the government to carry out public campaigns to educate and promote the need to eliminate racism and discrimination in the country.

Stressing that the government must be willing to impose heavy legal and formal sanctions on those who exhibit racist and discriminatory tendencies in speeches and actions, Pusat Komas also said the government, in collaboration with civil societies, must continue to systematically monitor and ensure zero tolerance for policies and practices of racism and discrimination at all levels of government.

During a panel session at the launch, Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner Madeline Berma spoke of how the Malaysian education system has regularly “sanitised” issues of race and “romanticised” the notion of unity in textbooks.

Meanwhile, Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said Malaysia should hold more conversations about the necessity of a needs-based affirmative action policy and shift away from the race-based affirmative action policy which has prevailed since the New Economic Policy 1970.

Although he was unable to attend the launch as one of the panellists, Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa said it was high time politicians moved away from using race and religion for political gain.

“I am disgusted when political parties exploit race and religion to instigate hate and fear among the different races in this country,” he said in a speech that was read out at the launch.

“Needless to say, if this continues, the country will suffer a terrible backlash in her future endeavours to become strong and united.”

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