Racism, also known as racial discrimination, is usually defined as an act of prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior, according to Oxford Dictionary. Malaysia, which is a well-known country is often highlighted and associated with cases and issues relating to the word ‘Racism’. This is undoubtedly due to the characteristic of Malaysia where it is a multi-racial and multi-religious country. Even until today, inequality still persists in this country and Malaysians are still made to trust that every issue they encounter is one among the Malay, or so called Muslims, against the non-Muslims (Wong, C. H., 2014). One of the main cause of racism in Malaysia is due to politics reasons, and this has lead to problems maintaining unity of Malaysia.
Politics has always been the foundation of a successful country, however in Malaysia, the politic issues are always said to be unfair, or worse, biased. Ever since the independence of Malaysia, racism was used as a tool to ‘divide and rule’ the country, stated by Walden(2009). Today, most of the politicians work not for their nation’s mutual good, but only for their own race’s benefits. For instance, United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) who has been taking over the country has provided a great amount of privileges towards Muslim Malays, rather than other races (Malaysia Racial Discrimination Report, 2016). It seems to be normal when an individual tend to be selfish, and only care about own’s good, and this mentality has indirectly caused the situation of racial discrimination in our government.
Besides, outdated and old-fashioned thinking is also one of the biggest cause of racism in Malaysia. Dr. Lee Hwok Aun (2017) once stated that although we live on the same piece of land, yet most of the Malaysians are more likely to make friends and partner up with their own race rather than joining the other races.Dr. Lee also stated that Malays who live in countryside do not like to communicate with the non-Malays. Indians as well, preferred to live in separated neighbourhoods where they isolated themselves from developing friendships with other ethnic groups. This situation, has indirectly caused more consequences than one can ever imagine, for example, serious ethnic prejudice and misunderstanding among races. In short, the narrow-minded citizens of Malaysia are the ones who raised such extreme issues in the country.
One of the biggest effect of racism in Malaysia is racial dispute which happened on 13 May 1969.This tragic event happened due to economy imbalance and unfairness between Chinese and Malays which causes conflict and killing of one race to another when jealousy overrode their conscious.This has caused nationwide emergency situation and spreading of fear among all Malaysians. This incident not only casted a shadow to all the victims but also became a ‘black spot’ in the history of Malaysia. Moreover, a general election based survey showed that most of the Malaysians tend to vote for the candidates of their own race(Sharom, A., 2018). This leads to the consequence in which those candidates who have the ability to lead the country well do not get voted, causing imbalance power of each race in the government.In a nutshell,improper distribution of power among races will lead to racial dispute in a country.
Last but not least, racism also causes failure in achieving unity in Malaysia. The way of thinking possessed by most Malaysians has lead to the non-acceptance of the culture of other races.Some of them choose not to face the reality yet decide to incite racial issue to satisfy their disgraceful meditation for expressing their own race relations and nation’s future. Some racists intentionally spread hate speeches and fake news to raise racial issues, just because they want their own race to gain benefit and survive from the others. In fact, citizens themselves as well do not realize their responsibilities to protest these viral news and to maintain the unity among races. In conclusion, racism increases the difficulties for a nation to unite.
All in all, racism will spread all over the country like virus, and being brought down from generation to generation. It is crystal clear that there are special opinion held on the problem of whether or not racial discrimination influence the society positively and negatively. The superb influences of racism are that it develops factors of motivation and duties which include the urge to battle in opposition to racism to promote equal right among all races. Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman once said “We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.”