KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — Malaysia would lose nothing if it shut its doors to Africans who were becoming brazen in committing crime, an Utusan Malaysia editor said today.
In an opinion piece published in the Malay language daily, news editor Rozaman Ismail said the Africans — which he referred to using the “Pak Hitam” (black fellow) pejorative — were escalating their illegal activities from fraud to violent crimes.
Citing an uncorroborated report of Africans opening fire at police officers, he said the incident was indicative of the gradual shift towards more serious offences such as robbery and shootings.
“The authorities must do something. They (the Africans) came to make a living in the wrong way.
“Such immigrants are not needed here. Malaysia will lose nothing without such ‘Pak Hitam’,” Rozaman wrote.
Stereotypes against the immigrants from the continent were deserved, he added as he recounted the crimes and offences associated with the group.
These include the so-called “Black Money” confidence trick that the group abandoned after it became publicised, before moving on to preying on lonely women online. Other unsavoury activities that he said were typical of Africans were peddling counterfeit movies and watches in Chinatown in Petaling Street here.
Africans were also drunk and disorderly, and would openly accost women before dragging them back to their homes, he asserted, adding that local residents were helpless due to the immigrants’ intimidating physical stature.
The Utusan Malaysia editor then cited the US Federal Bureau Investigation’s probe tracing back to the 80s into the so-called “Nigerian 419 scams” — a confidence trick so named due to the ubiquity of cases originating from the country — to infer the history of African immigrants in such activity.
“Even the honest and good ones from the continent’s countries are often viewed with suspicion. There is nothing wrong with thinking so,” Rozaman wrote.
“Perception has become fact.”
Despite being a continent of 54 countries with diverse and distinct ethnicities, cultures, languages and societies, its migrants are commonly pigeonholed using the “African” catchall, while the derogatory label “Awang Hitam” (literally, Black Fellow) is also used by Malay-language dailies in reference to their dominant skin colour.
The immigrants regularly complain of discrimination by locals, which last year saw a condominium in Sunway attempt to ban landlords from renting to African tenants.
It later abandoned the bid after the move was publicised.
Malaysia’s Immigration Department reported that a total of 79,352 Africans entered the country last year.
The department also issued 25,467 student visas to Africans in 2012 to study in public or private institutions.