PETALING JAYA, March 21 — Contrary to what some may believe, Malays are the most discriminated race in Malaysia, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said tonight.
The former law minister said that while all ethnic groups in the country are prejudiced racially, none compare to the discrimination faced by Malays, especially on issues like khalwat or close proximity among men and women who are not married to each other or have no family relations.
“Non-Malays are not only the victims. I think the Malays are discriminated too. You think khalwat laws are not discriminating against the Malays.
“Most of the victims of discrimination in this country are Malays. Malays however unfortunately have low grade leaders leading them. They are taught false teachings or understandings,” Zaid said during a forum on racial discrimination here.
The DAP member however added that many Malays fail to see this as they are disillusioned by the current crop of leaders.
“Discrimination happens to all of us. When a policy discriminates one, we have to take ownership.
“My greatest fear for this county is Malays being given a false sense of power, ownership of the country. They will not be able to see for themselves. The Malays will be left out,” Zaid said.
Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin of the G25 civil group started by prominent Malay government pensioners who was also present, said that there were government institutions that undermined Putrajaya’s other efforts to promote racial harmony.
She named the National Civics Bureau, popularly known by its Malay abbreviation, as an example.
“Not only there is minor racism but there are institutions in government that covertly promoting racism.
“BTN’s course is supposed to promote national unity but instead is promoting Malay supremacy,” she said during the forum.
The former diplomat also said the National Economic Policy (NEP) was supposed to help the poor of all races, but instead was “hijacked” to promote a Malay agenda.
“The NEP has been hijacked. It is supposed to eradicate poverty but it has only concentrated on the Malay agenda,” Noor Farida said.
She added that though the Barisan Nasional coalition had formed a multiracial government, its component parties still played the racial card to garner voter support.
“Racial politics are entrenched in the country. Political parties are raced based. The government is making efforts to stamp out racism and promote unity, but the main partner in the ruling coalition is promoting racism, day in day out,” Noor Farida said.