(What is the right things to do when it comes to relationships between the various races. Image source: http://www.essex.ac.uk/)
I was not surprised though but here is why the Minister is talking crap.
Let me begin with a simple scenario:-
There is a 4 way intersection and let’s assume that the traffic is heavy and there is no traffic lights or traffic policeman on sight (ya, no hidden cameras as well). Let’s assume further that it is the morning rush. What do you think will happen at this intersection?
You think the drivers will act civilised and courteous to keep the intersection free and only move when there is enough room?
In Malaysia, it is rather impossible unless everyone woke up and decided to do the right thing. In a country where queue-jumping and racing on the emergency lane is a norm, being at the intersection is going to be a nightmare.
Now picture the same scenario but this time, imagine that there is a law called “Intersection Rules Act” which makes it unlawful to drive and choke up the intersection if the road is congested. Imagine that the Act also makes it unlawful for queue jumpers and road hoggers. Punishment is 5 years in jail or a very high penalty is imposed on law breakers.
What will happen to the intersection now? Will the ruly, crazy Malaysian drivers still behave at the intersection?
Let’s come back to this intended Race Relations Act which was proposed by the Cabinet, only for it to be revoked by them. This is what they said as the reason for it’s cancellation:-
The Cabinet has scrapped the proposed Race Relations Act, says Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal. The Cabinet decided two weeks ago against having such an Act after studying the matter thoroughly, he said.
“We have lived in harmony for more than 50 years. Why can’t we continue to do so? You cannot force someone to like you. It must come naturally,” he said at a media luncheon yesterday at a hotel here organised by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF).
“Race relation is something that cannot be forced upon the people through legislation. That’s why everyone in the Cabinet agreed there was no need for such an Act,” he added. Shafie, who is also MCPF chairman, said he had discussed the proposal for the Act with many experts, and all were against it.
Hmmm, this reminds me of another Act that was turned down by the Cabinet – Witness Protection Act. And once again, the logic for turning down the Act is simply dubious and somewhat idiotic.
Malaysia does not have a Race Relations Act (no thanks to some small minded politicians) but many countries have one. One example is the United Kingdom’s Race Relations Act 1976. That Act in essence makes race discrimination unlawful in employment, education, training and provision of goods, facilities and services.
The Act further defines discrimination as direct and indirect discrimination as follows:-
Direct race discrimination occurs when a person treats another person less favourably on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin. Examples include – refusing to serve ethnic minority clients or ignoring racial harassment of employees
Indirect race discrimination occurs when a condition or requirement which a smaller proportion from the victim’s racial group can comply with, and is detrimental to the victim because s/he cannot comply with it, and cannot be shown to be justifiable irrespective of the colour, race, nationality or national and ethnic origins of the person to whom it is applied. For example, requirement of a certain height.
It gets even better. The United Kingdom then came out with an amendment to the 1976 Act. The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 puts specific duties on the authorities, one which is:-
Assess whether their functions and policies are relevant to race equality
Monitor their policies to see how they affect race equality
Now let think about this for a while. Having a Race Relations Act may not be a bad idea after all. As the Minister said, it cannot be forced on the people but certainly it can be forced on the Government and the civil servants to start doing the right things.
Let’s assume the Government indeed introduce the Race Relations Act and mould it in the spirit of UK’s Race Relations Act. What that means to politicians in the ruling party? End of NEP? End of race based favouritism? End of race based political party? Real punishment of racial retards like Ahmad Ismail?
And whilst it is true that the people have been living together in harmony for more than 50 years, who the culprit behind the racial friction in the last few years? The people or the politicians? So, who is likely to have a burning rear if the Race Relations Act comes into force? Once again, the people or the politicians?
On the other hand, having legislation such as the Race Relations Act may help to close the loopholes that exist when it comes to race relationship between Malaysians.