As protests spread across the world, time for Malaysia to examine its own record on minorities

PETALING JAYA: As protests against racism flare up across the world over the killing of African American George Floyd, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak says there is a need for Malaysia to examine its own track record with minorities.

In posting a message supporting Floyd, Nazir said he was late in doing so because he had been reflecting on how prevalent this problem is in our own society.

"How minorities here face the same challenges every day. How institutionalised measures to redress inequality between races have been abused or become out of date, and need to be overhauled.

"How we don’t even define racism or legislate against it. Our nationhood – what it means to be Malaysian and how our government, economy and society work – needs recalibration," he said.

He added that there was need for a platform to deliberate a new model for Malaysia.

"As there was in 1957 and 1970. We must do it before it is too late," the retired banker said in a post on Instagram where he uploaded a blank black picture.

AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes also said that racism has always been one thing he hates most.

"Coronavirus has showed we are all the same. Any decent human being should be horrified by what happened.

“But racism happens everywhere and in many different forms. I dream of a day......," he said on Instagram where he posted a black picture with the words “Black Lives Matter”, the last part an allusion to US civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech.

In 2018, after having first said it would ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Pakatan Harapan-led government of the day made a u-turn and decided not to.

Its decision came in the wake of street demonstrations by certain political parties and Malay-rights groups.

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