September 24, 2008
Race Relations Act
Further thoughts on the Race Relations Act proposed by the home ministry in Malaysia recently, published in The Nut Graph.
24 Sep 08 : 9.00AM
By Tricia Yeoh
AHMAD Ismail is now a familiar name: his remarks about the Chinese in Malaysia resulted in his three-year suspension from Umno politics. The arrest and subsequent release within 24 hours of Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for accurately reporting Ahmad’s statement also sparked a nationwide outcry. It is within this context that a proposal was made by MCA Youth Chief Liow Tiong Lai for a Race Relations Act “to govern racial relations, encourage greater unity and avoid discrimination among races in the country.”
This proposal seems to have taken on a life of its own, leading to the cabinet’s approval to formulate the Act, as announced by home minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar. He said the home ministry and the ministry for unity, culture, arts and heritage will be working together to gather information to draft the Act.
The proposed Race Relations Act has elicited a range of responses, mainly positive, from those in government. Unity minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said fundamentals of the Act were aimed at ensuring peace and harmony among the different races — the end goal of which is difficult to dispute.
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