Ramasamy: Racial attacks stems from the political and economic system

Ramasamy: Racial attacks stems from the political and economic system

Racial and religious attacks are symptomatic of the larger political and economic system.

The racist slur on the country badminton star S. Kisona is not something new or it is just an isolated incident. Racial attacks or slurs are really manifestations of the system based on the axis of race and religion.

In fact, there are growing attacks on the non-Muslims by politicians from political parties such as Umno, Bersatu, or PAS or that matter from those in some racist and religious extremist organisations.

The racial attacks are too many and too frequent to diminish them as isolated incidents, not reflective of the state of race relations in the country. In some cases, the perpetrators might apologise in fear of police arrests but in many cases, the perpetrators get away from such insults and others.

Lately, a Muslim religious teacher made unsavory and extremist comments on Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Hundreds of police reports have been lodged against this religious teacher, it is doubtful that the police will act to apprehend this individual.

The police have glossed over too many cases in the past about attacks against non-Muslim faiths. I doubt that the police might show a similar restraint when it comes to attacks against the majoritarian community?

A slight provocation is all that is needed for them to spring into action. The racial and religious slurs against the non-Malays or non-Muslim cannot be diminished as not reflective of the thinking of the larger society. In fact, the racial and religious polarisation resulting from the Bumiputra agenda and the non-Bumiputra counter-response that is largely responsible for the current state of affairs.

Malaysian society is racially and religiously polarised society. It is like a time bomb that can explode at any time. Thus, the continuing unorganised racial and religious slurs, not the complete monopoly of the Bumiputra, are continuing to rear their heads now and then.

Apologies might calm the situation temporarily, but the slurs are symptomatic of the evils of the larger system that is based on race and religion. The general uneasiness and tensions are increasing daily but more so with discriminatory policies of the mono-ethnic-based political parties that are in the government.

The attacks from those in the majoritarian community might not subside but might be on the increase. These racial and religious attacks and slurs are the outcome the discrimination of the non-Bumiputra by those ostensibly representing the Bumiputra.

The opposition mounted by the non-Bumiputra against unfair policies might indirectly give rise to racial attacks against the other.

Even though there is no overt display of racism at the level of interaction of the various ethnic groups, racism in Malaysia is very much institutionalised.

The problem with this country is that there too many ethnic leaders and very very few leaders who can go beyond ethnicity or religion. But unfortunately, those managing the government are ethnic leaders who can only think and act in narrow sectarian terms.

We have yet to get leaders or statesmen who can propel the country from the entrapment of race and religion.

P Ramasamy is the deputy chief minister II of Penang

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