No room for racism in Malaysia Baharu, Suhakam tells BN sec-gen

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Malaysia Baharu should no longer tolerate racist views and those who perpetuate it, the Human Right Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.

Suhakam said this in response to Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s recent statement questioning the appointment of non-Malays for top government positions.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said employment into the civil service should take into account competency for any appointment.

“These statements were clearly intended to incite racial hatred and discontent for the purpose of winning votes in the Semenyih by-election.

“There is no law that dictates that these positions must be occupied by a Malay. It is the sole discretion and judgement of the duly elected government to appoint those who will best fulfill these roles for the sake of all Malaysians, and not just Malays alone,” said Razali in a statement, today.

During a speech in Beranang, Semenyih last Saturday, Nazri had questioned the appointment of non-Muslims as the attorney general (AG), chief justice and finance minister.

The Barisan Nasional secretary-general had earlier today defended his statement and said if the AG was not a Bumiputera, there was bound to be impartiality, citing the case involving deceased fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim as an example.

“Nazri’s claims that the death of firefighter Muhamad Adib Mohd Kassim has gone unpunished due to the fact that the AG is not Malay are extremely offensive.

“AG Tommy Thomas had ordered the inquest into Adib’s death in accordance with Section 339 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code and had rejected an interim motion to stay the inquest pending the March 4 hearing as his death is a matter of public interest.

“The law must be allowed to complete its course before any punishment can be meted,” said Razali.

While the commission recognises the special position of Malays as an affirmative action as embedded in the Federal Constitution, Razali said the protection of the position does not go against the aforementioned appointments of non-Malays.

“In light of these remarks by a senior politician, Suhakam reiterates the call for the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to prevent and eradicate all manifestations and practices of racial, religious and national hatred,” he said.