Malaysia: Act against fanaticism and racism, govt told

PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to play a more proactive role to curb the increase of racism and fanaticism as witnessed recently, in the country.

Pusat Komas’ human rights programme coordinator Lena Hendry said that the government should not just claim to be moderate and tolerant in the international arena but allow fanaticism and racism to be tolerated for political mileage, in Malaysia.

“Why is there not action taken by the government to put a stop for [to] this?

“The country would not be able to grow and prosper with this attitude by the government which is dividing the nation,” she said.

Lena Hendry made the statement following Ikatan Muslim Malaysia (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya’s remark that the Muslims can slaughter cows anywhere they wish to do so since Malay Muslims are the majority – in reply to recent questioning of cows being slaughtered in schools as part of the Aidiladha rituals.

She also cited the case of Malay rights group, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali who recently called for the banning of the Malay bible, Al-Kitab, after the Appeals Court ruled that the word ‘Allah’ cannot be used by a Catholic weekly, Herald.

However there has been no action from the government against either these groups or persons.

Hendry added that the government’s inaction against groups that promote fanaticism and racism only serves to embarrass Malaysia in the international arena.

“It is not only embarrassing in the eyes of the nation and the rest of the world but highly damaging to our diverse multi ethnic and religious communities,” she said.

She urged the government to be honest when they present their Universal Periodic Review report in Geneva, this Thursday,  by addressing this issue.

She called for the government to come clean when making their presentation because Malaysia is also a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

On that note, she also calls for the government to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).