Racism heavily politicised, say Malaysians
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18, 2014:
Racism among Malaysians has been something widely debated and talked about in recent times.
Something unheard of in the past, this evil has slowly, but surely been creeping up on us.
The Rakyat Post spoke to a host of Malaysians on what they felt about racism in our multi-racial society.
A number of those interviewed felt it was mainly the lawmakers who used the race card for their own political agendas.
Syasri Baheramhasa, 67, self-employed.
“The race card is something our Malaysian politicians use to stroke their egos. For the intellectuals, racism and religion is thrown out of the picture when it comes to progressing together as a nation. I was only 10 years old when the country achieved independence. I have very vague memory of that day, but what I can remember is the fact that the spirit of being Malaysian was very strong. I am disappointed that the independence of the country is now being taken for granted.”
G.S. Lee, 50, consultant
“I feel it is mainly the lawmakers who rely on racial issues to get by. It is not something felt between me and my friends. When I read what they say or do, harping about religion and race, and when I sit down with my multi-racial friends, it is a whole different story altogether. What the media, social media and lawmakers portray about Malaysians being racist is incorrect. Why is the racial card being played now when nothing of such is really taking place?”
Razali Ahmad, 28
“Based on my observation, these racial issues began the moment the 13th General Election ended in May last year. After that, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call on “what else the Chinese wanted” led to several other politically affiliated non-governmental organisations (NGO) to join the racist bandwagon. There is definitely a hidden agenda behind the recent racial calling between lawmakers from both divides. In Sabah and Sarawak, racism has no place as we all see each other as equals. It is a different story here in the peninsula.”
Shanmuga Devi, 69, housewife
“To me, racism is prevalent but in a very subtle form. She explained her difficulties in obtaining a Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) trust fund which she claimed catered only to the Bumiputeras. While Najib calls for 1Malaysia, here we have trust funds being given to only the Malays. I find it unfair as I’m not a well off person. Poverty transcends racial and religious barrier. The racial card is also played when my friend’s son tried applying for a job where they only preferred Chinese. In the end, if you remove the identities given to the body, we’re all souls who would go back to God when we die. So why the need to label one another.”
Prabakaran Velautham, 30, technician
“The best method to nip the issue is by introducing lessons on every race’s culture. Education is key if we are to move together as a nation. There should be focus in teaching every Malaysian about each others’ religion and culture so that we find the similarities with one another.”
Izzat Farhan, 18, student
“Vernacular schools should make way. Everyone is welcome to learn whatever language they wish to learn, be it Chinese, Tamil or even a foreign language in a national school.”
Betty Lim, 60, housewife
“Despite what is being reported by the media and said by politicians, Malaysians are generally a united lot. I think Malaysians generally aren’t as racist as what the media makes us to be. There are many of us who silently know and understand that the racial and religion cards have to make way but it has to start with the lawmakers themselves first. Focus on pertinent issues such as education, health, infrastructure and not petty ones such as racism and religion.”
Diana Ramzah, 14, student
“I am worried racism becomes a big deal in the future. There are many young ones like us who can tell that this is all politics in the end. But if not curbed, it can be very dangerous for my generation in the future.”