Malaysians, in general, are laid-back people, who like to poke fun at each other while respecting them at the same time. It is not strange for a Malay to laugh at his Indian or Chinese friend, and vice versa. They can laugh until the cows come home on any absurd topics such as the issues with the government agencies or the lousy food at the Mamak’s stalls.
Harith Iskander, Malaysia’s only comedy Godfather had once said during an interview with The New Strait Times in October 2015:
“The fact that we are so casually racist sometimes. We still operate in a space devoid of political correctness. And for comedy, that’s a good thing.”
It is the hidden side of Malaysia. We are naturally born racists, but we hide our racial biasedness behind our own shadows for trying to be polite and kind towards each other. The good thing is, we are often in a jovial spirit when our friends start to speak up about the differences we may have against each other, but in a more comical way, and not in a contrasting demeanor.
Despite our natural tendencies to hide our emotions through waves of laughter and petty talks; recently though, we face yet again a somewhat sensitive issue relating to inequality. As we have entered the domain of newer Malaysia, the minorities from various backgrounds start to demand their rights. The demands are not new to the government, but the heads (who are) leading the government are the ones with the new blood. Great leaders such as Tun Dr. Mahathir is a no stranger in making racist remarks in the past, but he always gets away because he manages to focus on bigger issues such as in economy and education.
The people, in the end, would be mature enough to understand that the more important agenda is the thing related to the quality of life. These include issues like improving the quality of education, eradicating poverty or strengthening the integration of our future generations.
I have a strong affiliation towards justice and fairness, and I also believe that fairness must be placed rightfully at its position agreed upon by our forefathers. “Special right” is called “special” because of its unique characteristic to stabilize the racial relationship between the Malaysian citizens so that they can live in harmony. We must also admit that the federal constitution has already covered the aspect of Malay special rights and the position of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.
Therefore, I applaud the decision made by the Prime Minister today that International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) will not be implemented in Malaysia. It is not difficult to understand why this stand must be accepted by all Malaysians, because our main priority before and current is not to instigate disharmony amongst ourselves in this country, but more openly that we all are the proponent of sound minded leadership and transparency.
Being honest is a rare commodity these days. By discussing and agreeing to put aside ICERD because we believe that the Federal Constitution has already taken care of all our concerns is a brave act. Altogether, we must admit that if the leaders are upholding to fairness and justice wholeheartedly, then with just following the constitution, we may already have a very happy livelihood in this country, regardless of what others might say from the outside.
I once again would like to call for a stop in inciting hatred against each other and let’s embrace what our forefathers had laid out for us in the past, that the Federal Constitution would protect all of our interests, as the highest law of the land, forever.