PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has denounced the statement by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz regarding the appointments of non-Malays to the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Finance Minister.
Its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the statements by the Barisan Nasional secretary-general were intended to incite racial hatred and discontent in order to win votes in the Semenyih by-election.
“There is no law that dictates that these positions must be occupied by a Malay,” he added.
In a statement on Monday (Feb 25), Razali said that it is the sole discretion and judgment of the government to appoint those who will “best fulfil these roles for the sake of all Malaysians, and not just Malays alone”.
According to him, outdated views of racism can no longer be tolerated in Malaysia Baru, where employment, especially into the civil service, must primarily consider the candidate’s competency for any appointment.
He said Suhakam recognises the special position of the Malays as an affirmative action as embedded in the Federal Constitution.
“However, the protection of this position is not in opposition with the aforementioned appointments of non-Malays.
“In light of these remarks by a senior politician, Suhakam reiterates the call for the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) to prevent and eradicate all manifestations and practices of racial, religious and national hatred,” he said.
Earlier, Nazri said he was called up by the police following his Semenyih campaign speech.
In his speech on Sunday (Feb 24), he reportedly questioned the appointment of non-Muslims as the Attorney General, Chief Justice and Finance Minister as a threat to the Malay special rights.
He also reportedly warned non-bumiputras not to question Malay special rights, using vernacular schools as an example of the special rights given to non-bumis.
As his speech received backlash, Nazri called for a press conference on Monday, denying that he wants vernacular schools to be shut down.
He said such allegations are a ploy to turn voters against Barisan in the Semenyih by-election.
Nazri said he was using the call to shut down vernacular schools as an example, and he was not advocating the abolition of vernacular schools.
Razali also slammed Nazri’s claims that the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim has gone unpunished due to the fact that the Attorney General is not Malay as “extremely offensive”.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas had, he said, ordered the inquest into Muhammad Adib’s death in accordance with Section 339(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code and had rejected an interim motion to stay the inquest pending the March 4 hearing as the fireman’s death is a matter of public interest.
“The law must be allowed to complete its course before any punishment can be meted,” Razali added.
Last November, Muhammad Adib was critically injured when he and his colleagues from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple following riots.
He succumbed to his injuries and passed away on Dec 17 at 9.41pm at the National Heart Institute.
‘Nazri playing the race card, should be probed for sedition’
Nazri called up by police over speech backlash (updated)