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JOHOR BARU, Jan 31 — A Johor state executive councillor urged Malaysians to be united and avoid using the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) for prejudice and racism.
Johor Unity, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman S. Ramakrishnan said it is disheartening to see racial sentiments being stoked at a time like this.
“The internet is abuzz with distasteful memes and satires depicting a particular group in the negative.
“In this time of crisis, Malaysians are supposed to come together and help one another to be safe from the ongoing virus infection. Not to ridicule their fellow citizens on their ethnicity and the things that they are not in control of,” said Ramakrishnan in a statement issued late yesterday.
Some conversations online have taken on racial undertones due to the origin of the virus in China.
The Bekok assemblyman then urged the public to follow the government’s health recommendations on the virus.
Authorities have arrested several individuals for spreading fake news about the 2019-nCoV outbreak here.
This morning, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, following confirmation of human-to-human transmission.
China reported that deaths from the virus hit 213 as of yesterday while global infections have gone beyond 9,815 cases to surpass the level of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
In Malaysia, the number of confirmed cases remains at eight, all of whom are Chinese nationals.