There are no second-class citizens in Malaysia

Barathi Selvam

9 Oct 2019, 4:52 am

Updated a year ago


LETTER | Pusat Komas is disgruntled and dumbfounded with the recurring theme which exploits race and religion that tailors irresponsible messages signalling as if the Malay-Muslims are threatened by the other ethnic groups in Malaysia.

The union of political leaders from all sides, non-governmental organisations, varsity students and the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad at the recent Kongres Maruah Melayu under the umbrella of race and religion appears to be unhealthy and destructive to the development of an inclusive Malaysia. 

At the congress, resolutions of five different clusters were presented and handed to Mahathir, categorised into education, religion, economy, politics and culture.

As a multiracial country, Pusat Komas feels the congress was detrimental to the process of nation-building as the contents were further articulating divisiveness amongst Malaysians through racist ideologies, racial and religious supremacy which renders unwarranted opportunities to stoke hatred as well as fear.

Recommendations which emphasise and aims to protect the growth and welfare of a single ethnic community mirrors biased and prejudiced practices of bigotry despite having different segments of people living in poverty. 

Reflecting on Islam and the Federal Constitution, Redhuan Oon, a former PAS member says Islam forbids any sort of “special and privileged” treatment of any kind or any particular class of society. He further commended Islam for forbidding encroachment on the rights of any ethnic minority with respect to its language, culture and religion.

Malaysia as a nation which, in the words of Mahathir, ­“is a staunch supporter of the anti-apartheid cause and followed with concern the struggle of the people of S Africa for freedom and democracy,” should not revive what is supposed to be a decayed mode of politics.

Our independence and the formulation of Malaysia was to harness the harmonic relationship through the conscious sharing of the nation’s economic prosperity. 

Noting the paramount findings of UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston, the Malaysian government should begin proactive steps in closing the economic cleavages between the rich and poor as its most prioritised agenda rather than succumbing to domineering identity politics.

The 'New Malaysia', as it claims to be and which has seen the dawn after 61 years, must completely leap away from repeating the grave mistakes of the past regime and not pawn the future of fellow Malaysians.

The writer is programme coordinator, Pusat Komas.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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