Ahead of Melaka poll, youth initiative flags 17 cases of racial, religious-tinged campaigning online

Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional flags are pictured in Lubok China, Melaka November 16, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional flags are pictured in Lubok China, Melaka November 16, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — A youth initiative called #KamiNampak (Malay for “we see”) said today it has recorded 17 cases so far of politicians playing up racial and religious sentiments while campaigning online for the Melaka state election.

The initiative spearheaded by non-profit group Architects of Diversity (AOD) Malaysia said these remarks had also included disinformation, misinformation, and falsely manufacturing or associating a political, economic or social threat with a racial or religious group.

“It is high time politicians stop exploiting race and religion while campaigning and focus on policies and what they can really do to uplift the people’s lives,” said Mayna Patel, a senior associate at AOD Malaysia in a statement.

AOD Malaysia pointed out that these narratives blame various groups for social problems, reinforcing negative stereotypes, and may create demand for policies that harm a specific racial or religious group.

 

 

Among politicians implicated were Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Paya Rumput candidate Datuk Rais Yasin who reshared a video of Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki claiming that only Umno and BN can protect the Malay-Muslim community.

Melaka PAS women’s wing treasurer Hawa Yaakub had also compared Pakatan Harapan (PH) to oppressors of Muslims in Kashmir and the Uyghur community.

Meanwhile, Kota Laksamana candidate Benjamin Low Chin Hong from MCA had mocked Malay names, while DAP’s official social media accounts had accused “Malay-Muslim governments” from BN and Perikatan Nasional of increasing the frequency of special draws by number forecast operators.

 

 

“We cannot move forward with national unity if our own leaders still use polarising strategies for their gain. The shadows of our colonial divide-and-rule tactic still run deep within our political system,” AOD Malaysia co-founder Jason Wee said in the statement.

The initiative is run by AOD Malaysia with more than 30 youth volunteers tracking social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok of candidates and parties.

AOD Malaysia is a non-profit initiative that aims to bridge communities and identity groups among youths in Malaysia.

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