FEBRUARY 20 — The recent scholarship advertisement by Pantai Hospital Sungai Petani has drawn criticism for its preference for people from specific ethnic groups. Pusat KOMAS would like to commend Pantai Hospital Sungai Petani’s swift actions to address the issue. We strongly believe that racial discrimination should not exist in a multi-ethnic nation like Malaysia.
Pusat KOMAS believes that such incidences could be avoided if the government had shown its political will and commitment to overcome racism and racial discrimination by signing and ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The ICERD is one of the nine core international human rights convention which is based on the principles of the dignity and equality of all human beings. Contrary to the popular belief that the signing and the ratification of ICERD would lead to the removal of rights, ICERD focuses on “who is discriminated against, on what grounds, who is responsible, and how to provide a solution”. This Convention provides a voluntary mechanism for State Parties to show that they comply with international human rights standards on the problem of racial discrimination.
Racial discrimination is strongly felt and experienced by every ethnic groups in Malaysia. This could be felt at various sectors such as the education, property and the service sector. However, it is an irony to see certain groups turning a blind eye on the discrimination felt by victims who come from a different ethnic group. These groups vehemently opposed the government’s decision to show its commitment to comply with international human rights standards to address the problem of racial discrimination by signing and ratifying the ICERD; but instead demanded for the Malaysian government to address the issue of racial discrimination when a member of their own ethnic group is discriminated upon. Pusat KOMAS believes that such hypocrisy does not have a place in the new Malaysia.
We believe that it is timely for Malaysia to move away from race-based policies and to begin drafting laws and policies aimed to combat racial discrimination. Racial discrimination exists everywhere and it is strongly felt by everyone. Hence, swift action should be taken to ensure that the rights and dignity of all Malaysians are respected and upheld. It is essential for the new Malaysia to fulfil its promises to create a Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally by showing its unequivocal political will and commitment in overcoming racism and racial discrimination in Malaysia by voicing strong condemnation of and acting against the use of hate speech and any acts of incitement to hatred.
* Statement issued by Pusat KOMAS.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.