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Inaction on racism: Cabinet slammed for impotence, irrelevance

Malaysia Chronicle

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has accused Malaysia’s federal Cabinet of being “impotent and irrelevant” for failing to take action against two school principals accused of hurling racial slurs at their non-Malay pupils and the deputy director of the National Civics Bureau who allegedly called Chinese “slit-eyes” and Indians “drunkards”.

“All Malaysians await the outcome of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting – whether there is going to be more procrastination and “tai chi” over the gross indiscipline of the two errant school principals and the BTN deputy director in openly flouting Prime Minister Najib’s 1Malaysia concept,” Kit Siang said in a statement.

“I am waiting for the outcome of the Cabinet tomorrow to decide whether to move an emergency motion in Parliament on Monday to demand an urgent debate on these two issues.”

Muhyiddin rebuffs action

As Kit Siang pointed out, 55 days have passed since the first incident occurred in Kulai, Johor, where headmistress Siti Inshah Mansor had told her Chinese pupils to go back to China and likened the Indian ones to dogs because of the prayer strings they wore. A few days later a headmaster in Bukit Selambau was also caught making similar racist remarks.

Kit Siang
But despite the numerous police reports lodged by angry parents, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin – who is also the Education minister – has chosen to shield them. Although, he set up a task force to investigate their actions, he has refused to push for a speedy resolution despite widespread public anger. Muhyiddin is the deputy president of ruling party Umno, and has often resorted to race-championing tactics to gain political popularity.

The Najib administration has tried to downplay the incidents as unusual occurrences, with Prime Minister Najib Razak ordering a “zero-tolerance” towards racism. But so far, as in all his other edicts and policies, no concrete action has followed his words.
BTN exposed

Even the immediate response of Pakatan Rakyat leaders to his zero-tolerance pronouncement was that it would not work unless the National Civics Bureau or BTN was shut down, and its indoctrination courses for civil servants and undergraduates stopped immediately. Past attendees have complained that during these courses, BTN lecturers often described non-Malays in derogatory terms.

Perkasa man and Hamim
Although the Najib administration has often denied such accusations, last week, BTN deputy director Hamim Husain was caught personally making such remarks at a Puteri Umno function. So far, Hamim has issued an indirect denial and lodged a police report against the reporter and news organization that printed his comments.

"Another case of disgraceful conduct by public servants was discussed by the Cabinet last Wednesday – the derogatory, offensive and insensitive reference to the Chinese and Indian communities as “Si Mata Sepet” (“Squinty-eyed”) and “Si Kaki Botol” (“Alcoholics”) by the National Civics Bureau (BTN) deputy director Hamin Husin at a closed-door Puteri Umno function – but there was no satisfactory outcome although the open mockery of the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia policy by public servants further undermined Najib’s authority, credibility and legitimacy," Kit Siang said.

"The Cabinet meekly asked the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan to investigate the racist remarks by Hamim, who have meanwhile received the endorsement of Perkasa to lodge a police report under the tutelage of Perkasa. Where does the Cabinet come in on this. Do the Ministers have any leadership role? Or are they completely impotent and irrelevant!"

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