"But what I am afraid of is that this positive promotion of a way of life. This is what is happening here now. They are saying that people should actively promote homosexuality, that you should try. It is not necessary that you should try. There are certain things which are bad. That you needn't try. Just accept that it is bad. We are not made that way.”
– Dr Mahathir Mohamad on homosexuality, 2001
COMMENT | Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s suggestion that Asean formulates policies that curb free speech on digital platforms in the guise of curbing hate speech has been called out for being hypocritical.
Hate speech has not been normalised in this country. To make such a claim, we have to point to sources which demonstrate how such speech at one time was considered anathema. The reality is that hate speech has always been the vulgar political and religious expressions of the state. Whether doctrinal or legislative, such speech was merely the expression of state actions.
When it comes to racial or religious issues, the state has always either through legislation or political norms, endorsed hate speech as a means to reflect the racial and religious superiority of the majority but more importantly, has been accepted by mainstream political operatives as the realpolitik of this country instead of something to be raged against...