Thursday September 3, 2009


Azmi Sharomo2

Not only must we condemn the cow-head protest in Shah Alam last week but we must look into ourselves and make sure we don’t think and speak like racists.

THE cow-head protest in Shah Alam last week left me feeling utterly disgusted. The men who organised and participated in that foul act are nothing but rank racists, and by cloaking their activities in a veil of piousness they show themselves to be even more despicable.

Yes, I was furious, but sadly I was not surprised. How can I be and how can anyone else be? We have allowed racists to have their way for so many years now.

Their appalling words and actions get progressively bolder and it just builds and builds until we have these men feeling they have the right to insult another religion in the most vile and brutal manner.

In the light of how Malay and Islamic supremacist thinking and expression have caught hold in the last few years, this sickening behaviour is simply a natural progression.

It happened because we allowed it to happen. Those bigoted thugs did what they did because we did not stamp down on the racists among us hard.

We allowed racist politicians to spout their garbage about “immigrant races”; we allowed them to tell our brothers and sisters to “go back to where you belong”; we allowed them to wave weapons of war; and we allowed them to ask for the weapons to be bathed in blood.

It’s too late for any politician to condemn something now when all the other acts of bigotry that have been brewing in the past few years were not even protested against because they suited their political needs.

It is too late to be making pleas of unity on National Day when not enough has been done before.

Let’s look at something recent. Two books that attacked the Mentri Besar of Selangor and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim are blatantly racist.

They claim that Selangor is for Malays only. They claim that the Pakatan Rakyat state government threatens Malays because they hire non-Malay staff.

In other words, the government must only hire Malays so that only Malays get benefits from the government. This is racism pure and simple. But because it suits the ruling party, as these books attack Pakatan, nothing is said.

cow headRacism is racism, be it some vile words published in some cheap self-published drivel, or a bleeding cow head stomped and spat upon. Racism is racism and it must be fought.

When it is not fought, when it is not faced down every single time, then those without the courage to fight it are merely accomplices who, through their cowardice or selfishness, support it.

And how should we fight it? The law that should be used is the Penal Code. The Sedition Act is a blunderbuss of a law and could be used against genuine dissent as well. Let us not look to that archaic leaving of the British.

Use the provisions in the Penal Code that make incitement an offence. Charge these people under the Penal Code and lock them away.

But that is for the authorities to do, if they so choose to. We, the people, must look into ourselves and make sure we don’t think and speak like racists. We must be even more careful that we do not infect our children.

We should speak out against racism and we should tell our political leaders that if they do not fight racism then they are supporting racism and we will not support them.

cowWe must make sure that what happened in Shah Alam faces utter and complete public contempt. Only in that way can we ensure it is not repeated.

Dr Azmi Sharom is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely his own.



  1. Steve Kong says:

    I salute you for speaking out against racism in such a clear and decisive manner. Malaysia can only be saved by reversing its present course of destruction.

  2. Dato Seri Yuen Yuet Leng says:

    As a locally born Malaysian of historical China antecedence I had seen comforting inter-racial relations pre-war, during the Japanese Occupation, the turbulent “Liberation” post-war years and the notable surge in integrated unity of all communities to fight and win the war against communist terrorism during the Emergency years. There were the occasional racial incidents which were resolved or pre-empted by impartial police action and supported by non-racial community leaders.
    We won the war against communist terrorism but we had lost the peace because we had allowed anti-national extreme racism to replace the spirit of equivocal constitutional multiracialism in the name of singular community. Within this developed dilemma have emerged more with extreme bigotry all round.
    Left to politicians this mess have little chance of being resolved effectively even as the few with better national conscience try. The real answer must come from the police, judiciary and the MACC who must, whatever their deficiencies, inconsistensies or delerictions rise to the occasion so that this nation may be salvaged for decent and circumspective Malaysians.
    I was almost persuaded in 1970 to migrate because so many feared that the necessary NEP would not be properly implemented and would be abused. I trusted that with time enlightenment would come. In 1984 when the IGP arranged for me to migrate because the CPM still wished to assassinate me for doing my duty to nation I changed my mind because I still believed that enlightenment would still come, even as I knew in 1978 that the degeneration of political and moral values with increasing racism continued. I bled inside for the nation I was twice shot for.
    Today when I read the increasing number of Malaysians like courageous Azmi Sharom, Farish Noor and Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir who just cannot take despotic extremism anymore. I can see that enlightenment has indeed come. However, they are likely to be called traitors as Tun MAHATHIR once said would happen. Tun’s great compassion for his community will not ever change. I am certain he can see what unbridled compassion can and has led us into. I trust he will come out even more to deflect the so negative extremism in some who may in the name of racial protectionism destruct race itself and by themselves and nation as well. Not all Malaysians who shout purist equality expect its immediate substance but they definitely want much less inequality until or as inter-communal relations, perceptions and prejudices improve for the better all round. However, until then the principles of fair justice and basic universal values common to every religion must hold us together – not dictated by demagogues in any community.
    Yuen Yuet Leng
    Nation Before Self (MPH)

  3. Ismail says:

    A nation whose foundation is based on institutionalized racism has no future, no credibility and deserves no respect. It is myopic (forget 20/20 vision) and cannot hold its head high among the international community.

    Unfortunately, racism is not the only evil in UMNO-land. Malaysia boleh!

  4. A Malaysian says:

    Racism is demeaning the human spirit. It degrades human beings to a level lower than animals – for even animals do not discriminate against each other.

    Institutionalized racism in Malaysia is dragging the religion of Islam to the mud. All religions teach people to be respectful, fair, kind and love fellow human beings. But the UMNO-led government whose every leader claims to be Muslim says that it is OK to institutionalize racism. What does this say about these leaders, their religion and their ideology? I’m quite sure that Islam teaches followers to do good, but these UMNO Muslim elites sure make it hard for people to believe that they are good spokesmen of the Islam.

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