Malaysiakini Letter

Racism is not part of us

Puthan Perumal
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | I, unfortunately, came across an article titled 'Melayu perlu bangkit bersatu (Malays must rise up and unite) published in Utusan Online yesterday. I seriously had no idea what to make of it. Perhaps you could help me.

It was an interview with former attorney-general Mohd Apandi Ali. Without going into his political beliefs, one thing did stand out.

Apandi was asked this: "Apabila bercakap tentang orang Melayu, kita dituduh rasis malah dalam kalangan orang Melayu sendiri ada yang sudah tidak mahu bercakap tentang kepentingan orang Melayu, apa pandangan Tan Sri?"

(When we talk about Malays, we are accused of being racist, and even among Malays there are those who don't want to talk about Malay interests. What do you think?)

This was the former attorney-general's answer:

"Ada orang Melayu sendiri bercakap kita ini rasis. Ada Cina antara mereka kata Cina rasis? Tiada. Apa masalahnya dengan rasis? Tiada masalah sebab itu sebahagian daripada kita. Bagi saya, kita ada sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina, sekolah jenis kebangsaan Tamil dan sekolah kebangsaan, Malaysia satu-satunya sistem pendidikan yang ada di dunia mempunyai tiga aliran, Melayu, Cina dan India, ia memang tidak menggalakkan perpaduan."

(There are even Malays who call us racist. Are there Chinese among them who call the Chinese racist? No. What is wrong with racism? Nothing wrong because it is part of us. To me, we have national-type Chinese schools, Tamil schools and national schools. Our education system is the only one that has three streams, Malay, Chinese and Indian. It does not promote unity).

My two cents' worth. First of all, racism is a problem. There are no exceptions to it. Period.

Secondly, racism is not part of us, with all due respect. I am not sure who is this 'kita' the former AG was referring to. Definitely not the right-thinking members of society.

Thirdly, how does one even make a statement by asking "Apa masalahnya dengan rasis?" while living in a multicultural society?

Finally, why talk about vernacular schools and racism in the same discussion? What does one have to do with the other? 

In fact, it is quite perplexing to use the words "Apa masalahnya dengan rasis?" and "tidak menggalakkan perpaduan" in the same context. Oxymoron.

In the end, while people are entitled to their views, perhaps it will help if responsible journalism could help publish articles or views that promote unity, and not the other way around.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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