Race Relations Act, anyone?
Posted by Cherubim on September 19, 2008
I have some misgivings about the so-called Race Relations Act that’s being approved for reading in the Parliament by the Cabinet. Some believe that it could be a better, more humane alternative to the ISA. Some believe that it is necessary to preserve the unity, harmony and relations between the races and to basically protect the society from racial conflicts.
I, however, smell a rat.
I cannot do much analysis when there is pretty much nothing on the slate for the RRA as of yet, but it would be nice to have several things in it;
1. An open forum where all grivances (including issues pertaining to Islamic law) is aired without restraint, but all that is said there ends there.
– Minutes are recorded and kept for future references in regards to any policy and laws made in the Parliament.
– Bigots and liberals alike should send in their well-written proposals and objections beforehand.
2. An interfaith council as was proposed by Prof Shad Faruqi.
– To allow for more effective facilitation of above open forum.
3. Specific details on what is ‘religiously and racially offensive
– To prevent any more seemingly politically manipulated ISA arrests.
By the way, my dear MPs, how on earth does one define ‘race relations’? Does it mean that we eat, sleep, go to the toilet together? Does it mean that we cannot visit each others’ homes when the non-Muslims serve booze and perhaps a stripper or two for bachelorette parties? Does it mean that we have to eat yee sang together every year or suffer the consequences? Does it mean that I cannot date Chinese boys anymore?
Pray tell my dear Ministers and MPs, what is the proper way to ‘relate racially’.
Weird lah, this.
Race Relations Act gets Cabinet nod
By V.P. SUJATA
PUTRAJAYA: The proposed Race Relations Act to strengthen ties among the different races in the country has been approved by the Cabinet, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
He said various issues had to be discussed and proposals on race relations needed to be studied before the Act could be drafted and tabled in Parliament.
He added that the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Home Ministry would gather information and data to draft the Act.
Speaking to reporters after addressing ministry staff at a monthly gathering yesterday, Syed Hamid said both ministries would also have to collect input from non-Governmental organisations and individuals on the contents and scope of the Act.
The Act would include provisions on punitive action while using the Federal Constitution as the guideline, he said.
He added that the Act would also touch on race relations through the economic, education and distribution systems.
“There is a great need to work on the mindset of Malaysians and ways to strengthen the relations among all races in the country,” said Syed Hamid.
“We need to give priority on our diverse cultures and on the sensitivity of each race in order to create an ideal environment to live in,” he said, adding that similar Acts in other countries would be used as reference in drafting it.
He said Britain had the Act for many years while some other European countries were working on similar laws too as they were also becoming more multiracial.
When asked to comment on a suggestion by MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai that the Act could replace the Internal Security Act (ISA), Syed Hamid said Liow could submit his proposal during discussions on the Act in the Cabinet.
On Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s statement that the ISA was good but its enforcement must be seen to be rational and fair, Syed Hamid said it was wrong to interpret his statement to mean the enforcement was improper.
He said enforcement of any law should be fair and just, adding that no one including the police and ministers enforce the law without being fair.
“The law is meant to do justice to the people,” he said.