Stand up against racism, uphold national unity

The Malaysian Social Science Association, together with other concerned academics and members of Malaysian civil society, strongly condemn the inflammatory and racist rhetoric being used by various political figures and now being reproduced in the mainstream media, with some extremist quarters threatening racial violence.

Allegations of a ‘Chinese tsunami’ leading to the 13th general election (GE13) results ignore the evidence that the swing towards change is much more firmly embedded in socioeconomic and urban/rural stratifications than in race.

What we see is an urban middle-class led tsunami which is multi-ethnic in nature. The results show that people of all ethnic groups across the country, particularly in urban areas where 72 percent of the country’s population live, in the main want change for a better Malaysia.

We are of the view that in a genuine democracy, each qualified citizen has the right and is free to make his or her own choice, especially during an election, like the recent GE13. For such a democracy to flourish, the citizen must be able to exercise such a right without having to fear being condemned for choosing the ‘wrong’ side or for being ‘ungrateful’.

Such threats and accusations only serve to widen the racial divide and to hide the weaknesses of one’s policies, strategies and practices, and go against the spirit of reconciliation and building a united Malaysian nation.

As concerned members of Malaysian society we call upon all parties to let cool heads prevail and stop making unjust accusations against any ethnic or religious group. We also call upon leading politicians from all political parties and other leading members of society, including civic, religious, business leaders, the police, and others to speak up with one voice against racism and violence at this critical juncture in Malaysia’s development.

We are of the opinion that all parties, especially the prime minister and his newly-installed government, must come to terms with this emerging reality, call for an end to race baiting, stop the blame game, undertake serious soul-searching, bite the bullet and get on with the business of national reconciliation as promised.  

We should realise that our uppermost agenda is moving forward as a united, multi-ethnic nation that is respectful of our diversity, as enshrined in our Rukunegara.