Politicised Racism in Malaysia Persists
Soon, but not too soon, after Malaysian deputy home affairs minister Wan Junaidi made a racist remark that non-Malays accept child rape compared to Malays, a Penang bishop mentioned that Malaysia needs justice before there is peace. Borrowing from non-violence activism ideas, he said that there would be no peace without justice in Malaysia. Forgiveness for past transgressions is the way ahead, presumably from victims of racist injustice. That’s a tall order in Malaysia for now. Coming from Penang, the bishop’s call for peace with social justice is not without context. Penang is Chinese, and opposition, and thus faced UMNO’s wrath occasionally. UMNO’s brown shirts, Perkasa, hounded the Penang government in the past. Despite its gimmicky olive branch waving just recently, it’s unlikely the right wing government funded ketuanan Melayu NGO is going to change its spots.
Malaysia needs a dose of peace and forgiveness to fix racism, says Penang bishop
BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
March 30, 2014
Peace, justice and forgiveness are the “prescription” to treat Malaysia’s problem caused by racists and extremists.
The prescription was made by Penang Bishop Right Reverend Sebastian Francis last night and was quickly taken up by PAS leader Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa.
Both men came together at a peace dinner organised by the Penang Island PAS Supporters’ Club last night in Bayan Lepas, when Francis urged the people to be united in fostering and strengthening peace, justice and forgiveness.
“There can be no peace without justice”, the bishop said as he reviewed the theme of the dinner.
Francis said justice was the prerequisite for peace and unity and also could not exist without forgiveness among the people.
“If we keep on having negative feelings towards others, we will not be able to become agents of peace, justice and forgiveness.
“As people of faith, we must pray that we can maintain these values in our everyday lives. Malaysia needs us all to stand together in this for the interest of the people,” he said.
Francis congratulated the organisers of the peace dinner, which was attended by about 100 people of all races and background, for their initiative.
Mujahid, who is Penang PAS deputy commissioner and Parit Buntar MP, said he agreed with Francis and would turn the prescription into a political manifesto.
The PAS leader who is well known for visiting and having dialogues in churches nationwide to engage Christians, said it was in line with what PAS had been struggling for, as reflected in the party’s slogan “PAS for all”.
Mujahid said when he visited PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to present the latter a copy of his book “Berdialog dengan Gereja – Sebuah Travelog Kedamaian” (Dialogue with the Church – A Peace Travelogue), the Kelantan leader asked about Sebastian.
“The first thing Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) said to me was ‘How is our friend the bishop?’
“No joke. That was what happened. People may say he only talks about Islam but he is actually a Tok Guru for all Malaysians,” he said.
Mujahid said when he debated the royal address in Parliament last week, he hit out at certain quarters wanting to take the country 50 years backwards with racism and extremism.
“A country built under the name of Malaysia is a nation that loves its people regardless of their race. Why are we talking about Chinese Muslim, Chinese Malaysian, Indian Malaysian? Why are we talking in the tone of racism?
“This is not the future we want for Malaysia. The peace we want to achieve for the nation demands that every Malaysian, regardless of race, gives his or her commitment to save the country from racist and extreme groups trying to destroy the unity and harmony.”
Mujahid said racists and extremists did not represent Malaysians, but only “narrow-minded” parties for such “narrow-minded purposes”.
“Anyone who wishes to be with them, do so but let me tell you that Malaysia does not need racism and extremism.
“The country needs people to move forward together hand in hand, step by step and we cannot do it unless peace prevails,” he said.
Mujahid said even in the Quran, there were verses telling Muslims to stand firm for justice in the name of God.
Therefore, PAS would speak out to defend those oppressed because of race and supremacy, even if they had to hit out against their fellow Malays, he said.
He also paid tribute to the members of the PAS Supporters’ Club in Penang for their support towards the party’s struggles, and assured them the party considered them as members and would look after their welfare as well, regardless of their race and religion.
“What matters to PAS is that we are all Malaysians who have dignity and are proud to be citizens of this country,” he said.
Other local PAS leaders who spoke at the event were Penang PAS Unity Bureau chief Yusof Noor and deputy chief Abdul Rahman Kassim, who presented a poem about the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370. – March 30, 2014.