Racism encouraged by Malaysian Minister

Ray

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After Ismail Sabri cleared, MP asks if OK for Umno ministers to be racist

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 "• Putrajaya's absolution of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob over the minister's controversial call for a racial boycott raises questions on whether the government condones racism, PKR MP Sim Tze Tzin said today.

Sim said he was shocked with Putrajaya's parliamentary reply that explained Ismail Sabri's call was "directed to all races and not certain races".

"This is clearly against the agriculture minister's statement that clearly only points fingers at the Chinese traders," the Bayan Baru MP told reporters today, referring to Ismail Sabri's initial Facebook remark calling Malays to boycott Chinese traders.

Sim was referring to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim's parliamentary reply yesterday.

"Does this mean the government of Malaysia is now condoning racism? Are statements that are racist in nature that come from Umno ministers allowed?" Sim asked, quizzing Umno's allies MCA and Gerakan on what their response would be.

Referring to an identical response from Shahidan, DAP Perak chief Nga Kor Ming also insisted today that the minister apologise for his parliamentary reply.

Nga accused Shahidan of giving a "false" answer and purportedly lying openly with his reply, saying: "I ask him to openly apologise to Parliament."

Shahidan's reply mirrored a statement last month by issued by the Prime Minister's Office, which stated that the Cabinet was informed that Ismail Sabri's remarks regarding the price of goods was directed at all traders and not those of certain ethnicities.

In the statement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that Ismail Sabri meant consumers should use their power to force traders to lower prices, adding: "As such, any disputes that may lead to racial polarisation in the country should not be extended as these will only bring detriment to all."

Ismail Sabri on February 2, allegedly told Malays using Facebook to boycott Chinese traders in a bid to pressure them to lower their prices, saying: "As long as Malays don't change, the Chinese will take advantage to oppress the Malays."

The entry has since been removed as the minister later claimed in a second Facebook post that he meant consumers were the majority and traders the minority, and was directing his remarks at unscrupulous Chinese traders instead of the entire Chinese community.

But in a subsequent statement that same day, he resumed the original message that Malay consumers to use their majority power and target the minority Chinese traders who raised prices, while claiming that Chinese consumers stand to benefit from the boycott call.

Following a Cabinet directive to him, Ismail Sabri said on February 13 that his controversial remark was "clearly" directed at traders who refused to lower prices, also saying that he regretted his remarks.

"My comment that was made privately went 'viral'. I regret the statement has raised racial sentiments. All indignation is regretted," the agriculture and agro-based industries minister said in a statement.

- See more at: After Ismail Sabri cleared, MP asks if OK for Umno ministers to be racist | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online
Malaysia is indeed a racist country if one goes by the fact that none less than a Minister given that Ismail Sabri's call was "directed to all races and not certain races".

And what is interesting is that the Chinese are Malaysians and not foreigner, where one can claim that there was a cultural misunderstanding.

What a country!
 

Ray

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The Price of Malaysia's Racism
Slower growth and a drain of talented citizens are only the beginning.


Malaysia's national tourism agency promotes the country as "a bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony." Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak echoed this view when he announced his government's theme, One Malaysia. "What makes Malaysia unique," Mr. Najib said, "is the diversity of our peoples. One Malaysia's goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity, which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future."

If Mr. Najib is serious about achieving that goal, a long look in the mirror might be in order first. Despite the government's new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Mr. Najib took office in 2009. Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities. The recent deterioration is due to the troubling fact that the country's leadership is tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions.

For instance, when the Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur invited the prime minister for a Christmas Day open house last December, Hardev Kaur, an aide to Mr. Najib, said Christian crosses would have to be removed. There could be no carols or prayers, so as not to offend the prime minister, who is Muslim. Ms. Kaur later insisted that she "had made it clear that it was a request and not an instruction," as if any Malaysian could say no to a request from the prime minister's office.

Similar examples of insensitivity abound. In September 2009, Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Onn met with protesters who had carried the decapitated head of a cow, a sacred animal in the Hindu religion, to an Indian temple. Mr. Hishammuddin then held a press conference defending their actions. Two months later, Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament that one reason Malaysia's armed forces are overwhelmingly Malay is that other ethnic groups have a "low spirit of patriotism." Under public pressure, he later apologized.

The leading Malay language newspaper, Utusan Melayu, prints what opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calls a daily staple of falsehoods that stoke racial hatred. Utusan, which is owned by Mr. Najib's political party, has claimed that the opposition would make Malaysia a colony of China and abolish the Malay monarchy. It regularly attacks Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed.

This steady erosion of tolerance is more than a political challenge. It's an economic problem as well.

Once one of the developing world's stars, Malaysia's economy has underperformed for the past decade. To meet its much-vaunted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, Malaysia needs to grow by 8% per year during this decade. That level of growth will require major private investment from both domestic and foreign sources, upgraded human skills, and significant economic reform. Worsening racial and religious tensions stand in the way.

Almost 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas. It appears that most were skilled ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians, tired of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country and denied the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, whether in education, business, or government. Many of these emigrants, as well as the many Malaysian students who study overseas and never return (again, most of whom are ethnic Chinese and Indian), have the business, engineering, and scientific skills that Malaysia needs for its future. They also have the cultural and linguistic savvy to enhance Malaysia's economic ties with Asia's two biggest growing markets, China and India.

Of course, one could argue that discrimination isn't new for these Chinese and Indians. Malaysia's affirmative action policies for its Malay majority—which give them preference in everything from stock allocation to housing discounts—have been in place for decades. So what is driving the ethnic minorities away now?

First, these minorities increasingly feel that they have lost a voice in their own government. The Chinese and Indian political parties in the ruling coalition are supposed to protect the interests of their communities, but over the past few years, they have been neutered. They stand largely silent in the face of the growing racial insults hurled by their Malay political partners. Today over 90% of the civil service, police, military, university lecturers, and overseas diplomatic staff are Malay. Even TalentCorp, the government agency created in 2010 that is supposed to encourage overseas Malaysians to return home, is headed by a Malay, with an all-Malay Board of Trustees.

Second, economic reform and adjustments to the government's affirmative action policies are on hold. Although Mr. Najib held out the hope of change a year ago with his New Economic Model, which promised an "inclusive" affirmative action policy that would be, in Mr. Najib's words, "market friendly, merit-based, transparent and needs-based," he has failed to follow through. This is because of opposition from right-wing militant Malay groups such as Perkasa, which believe that a move towards meritocracy and transparency threatens what they call "Malay rights."

But stalling reform will mean a further loss in competitiveness and slower growth. It also means that the cronyism and no-bid contracts that favor the well-connected will continue. All this sends a discouraging signal to many young Malaysians that no matter how hard they study or work, they will have a hard time getting ahead.

Mr. Najib may not actually believe much of the rhetoric emanating from his party and his government's officers, but he tolerates it because he needs to shore up his Malay base. It's politically convenient at a time when his party faces its most serious opposition challenge in recent memory—and especially when the opposition is challenging the government on ethnic policy and its economic consequences. One young opposition leader, parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, has proposed a national debate on what she called the alternative visions of Malaysia's future—whether it should be a Malay nation or a Malaysian nation. For that, she earned the wrath of Perkasa; the government suggested her remark was "seditious."

Malaysia's government might find it politically expedient to stir the racial and religious pot, but its opportunism comes with an economic price tag. Its citizens will continue to vote with their feet and take their money and talents with them. And foreign investors, concerned about racial instability and the absence of meaningful economic reform, will continue to look elsewhere to do business.

Mr. Malott was the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, 1995-1998
John R. Malott: The Price of Malaysia's Racism - WSJ
It is not that racism is some one off incidents.

It seems to be endemic and deeply rooted.

Rather primitive people some would say, especially since the Chinese Malay and Indian Malay carry the Nation on their shoulder with hard work and inequality, while the lazy good for nothing Bhoomiputra reap the benefit of the toils of others with reservations and like.
 

Ray

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Malaysia's 8TV pulls 'racist' Ramadan adverts


A Malaysian TV channel has withdrawn a series of public-service messages about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, after viewers complained they were racist.

One of the adverts showed an ethnic Chinese girl acting in a rude manner towards Muslims, followed by a message saying: "Do not be loud or obnoxious."

In another of the adverts the girl is wearing a vest-top and is told: "Do not wear tight and revealing clothes."

The station, 8TV, apologised for any "inconvenience or uneasiness" caused.

"It is with much regret that there were misinterpretations in the PSA [public service announcement] that were meant to serve only as a message of respect for the Ramadan month," the channel said in a message on its Facebook page.

"The message was not meant to offend anyone, race or creed in any way. This is an honest mistake involving a very small amount of humour that was misinterpreted which led to concerns."

The station, which aims largely at Malaysia's sizeable Chinese minority, pulled the messages from its schedules and also moved quickly to delete them from video-sharing websites.

Its Facebook page was inundated with critical messages.

One web user, Jules Yap, said the channel had shown "disgusting, arrogant behaviour".

"Can't believe how arrogant the higher-ups in 8TV are, coming out with a defensive, insincere 'apology' which at the same time blames the viewers for misinterpreting the offensive PSA ads, when the ads are clearly in poor taste," he said.

Boon Hun said: "Gosh, you keep using the word misinterpretations, like it's our fault!"

Ethnic Chinese make up about one quarter of Malaysia's population.

They often complain of being discriminated against by the country's laws, which give ethnic Malays preferential treatment.

BBC News - Malaysia's 8TV pulls 'racist' Ramadan adverts
Imagine that.

Wow! What a way to go.
 

Ray

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Malaysia not truly Asia.
 

ladder

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At Subang condo, ban against 'African' tenants
- See more at: At Subang condo, ban against 'African' tenants | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online


"African" tenants at a Bandar Sri Subang condominium here have three months to vacate their units after the building's management slapped an unprecedented occupancy ban on them last week.
while the derogatory label "Awang Hitam" (literally, Black Fellow) is also used by Malay-language dailies in reference to their dominant skin colour.
 

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