Issued by The working group of “Ratify ICERD Now”
Press Statement for immediate release
We strongly and collectively condemn the discriminatory cartoon in the comic booklet entitled “M1-Malaysia – Majalah untuk rakyat”.
This distorted propaganda publication bearing the 1 Malaysia logo was widely distributed at the 1 Malaysia People’s Taxi (TR1Ma) in Bukit Jalil on June 25th which saw the largest gathering of 10 000 taxis.
The irony is this degrading comic book was actually given to the thousands of tax drivers who were being heralded as the “tourism ambassadors” of our country.
As reported by the Malay Mail, highly crude and discriminatory remarks were made on a group of dark-skinned foreigners by referring to them as “Awang Arang” (Mr. Charcoal). This negative depiction of any race or nationality based on skin color is a violation of basic human rights.
Sadly this embarrassing document obviously contradicts the spirit, sentiment and principles of “1 Malaysia” as espoused by PM Najib’s government.
Respect, unity and tolerance for all are not values only to be enjoyed by Malaysian Citizens but they are universal principles applicable for all human beings on this earth!
This “Xenophobic” behavior or the ridiculous and unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners is truly embarrassing for our nation and our multicultural population. It is a total contradiction to the common claim that Malaysians are very sensitive to each other despite racial and religious differences, and we have achieved the delicate balance of “unity in diversity”.
The negative and racist depiction by the comic book will only create more fear and prejudice among ordinary Malaysians. God forbid if these racist materials get into the hands of school children!
We, as the coalition of civil societies for the ratification of the ICERD (International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) would like to inform the Malaysian public that this international convention which has been ratified by 175 countries globally is yet to be ratified by our very own Malaysian government.
We strongly urge the Malaysian Government including all responsible agencies to immediately investigate this matter. In the meantime to immediately stop the distribution of this insidious book.
We also strongly urge the Home Minister to take appropriate action against Blue Pipe Studio Enterprise, the publishers of this comic book.
It is high time Malaysia undertake drastic and strong measures to stop prevent racial propaganda or instigation amongst peoples of different ethnic or racial origin.
As members of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council, Malaysia has the obligation to protect all citizens and non-citizens in our country. It is high time that Malaysia show its genuine and sincere commitment to support and implement human rights mechanisms to combat racism and discrimination in Malaysia.
Working Group on National Ratification of ICERD members: Bar Council Human Rights Committee, Lawyers for Liberty, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Tenaganita, LLG Cultural Development Centre, Institute of Ethnic studies (KITA), PROHAM, Pusat KOMAS [secretariat]