SEVERAL non-governmental associations (NGO) criticised Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria for saying that the racist slur levelled against Malaysian badminton star S Kisona was an isolated incident.
“Isolated case? Norza must have been living in a cave for decades. Racist attacks against non-Malays and non-Muslims have been escalating at a worrying level.
“In schools itself, derogatory words such as pariah and keling were thrown around against Indians. If you had noticed, the words penumpang and pendatang is making a comeback.
“Even our politicians are using it indiscriminately these days and Norza has the gall to call it an isolated case,” Global Human Rights Federation president S Shashikumar told FocusM.
Earlier today, Bernama reported Kisona as saying that the racist slur levelled against her by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leader Borhanudin Che Rahim had affected her psychology and performance.
“Obviously (it affected me) because, in the end, I am human too… Somehow, I need to shift my focus to my coming match. So, I’ll leave it to my family, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and the relevant authorities to resolve the issue,” she was reported saying.
Norza had claimed that the case was an isolated one because, in general, Malaysians appreciate the sacrifices and contributions of national athletes for the country.
“I think sensitive and racial issues like this should never happen at all in our country’s sports under the concept of Malaysian Family. We should be more appreciative of their efforts as they continue to boldly face challenges despite playing in the midst of COVID-19,” he was reported saying.
However, Shashikumar was not buying into Norza’s argument and said that racist attacks against the badminton star was a symptom of larger problem which should not be brushed aside lightly.
“Racism is at its peak now and people are being blunt about it without any remorse. Just go and check the social media and see for yourself.
“And due to the authorities’ lackadaisical attitude in stemming the problem, racist talks have been ‘normalised’,” he added.
Shashikumar recalled an incident in 2019, where an Umno leader had insinuated that the holy ash smeared on a DAP MP’s forehead as cremains of former Communist Party of Malaya leader, Chin Peng.
“And this matter was recorded and reported across all media. So, you see, even our leaders have no issues making racist attacks and we wonder why this problem is becoming a nightmare.
“Let me ask this. If a non-Malay or non-Muslim had uttered such words against the majority community, do you think we will be let go by just offering an apology and paying a fine?” he queried.
Shashikumar was referring to UMNO MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who back in Dec 3, 2019, had asked Jelutong MP RSN Rayer whether the ashes smeared on his head was cremains of Chin Peng.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Seri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof suspended Tajuddin for two days for the remark but the UMNO leader laughed it off and even asked the former to suspend him for four days as he needed to attend the UMNO general assembly.
On that note, Shashikumar poured scorn on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for failing to address rising racial and religious intolerance in the country despite having powers to do so.
“One of their functions is to establish an institute to educate the masses on human rights but are they doing that?
“With an allocation of RM10 mil annually, they can use it to raise awareness of human rights in schools and universities but nothing is being done,” he lamented.
Address racism now!
On related matter, Malaysian Indian Voice (MIV) urged the Government not to trivialise racial and religious attacks as it has become more rampant in recent years.
“If you don’t nip the problem in the bud, Malaysia is going to have serious problems in the future,” its chairman V Pappa Raidu told FocusM.
He also bemoaned that political leaders were also playing the race card to the hilt, without any regard to the damage it would be causing to country’s social fabric.
“Stop sweeping things under the carpet and solve problems now before it becomes too late,” Pappa Raidu remarked. – Oct 9, 2021