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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Suhakam demands action against racial hatred at #Merah169 rally

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 ― The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for action against protesters at the #Merah169 rally who had made comments promoting racial and religious hatred.
Suhakam noted that the pro-Malay demonstration yesterday had also turned rowdy when a group of protesters charged past police lines in an attempt to reach certain parts of the city centre that organisers and the police had initially agreed were prohibited.
“The Commission is also perturbed by the irresponsible and confrontational actions of several participants for inciting lawless and disorderly behaviour by flaunting racially-charged placards and for uttering slogans that promoted racial or religious hatred in our multi-religious and secular society,” Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in a statement.
“Such behaviour, in the Commission’s opinion, constitutes the intentional provocation of violence which cannot be condoned and must be appropriately dealt with.
“The Commission reiterates that advocacy of racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence should be prohibited by law,” he added.
Malaysia does not have hate crime laws, with efforts to have the Sedition Act 1948 replaced with legislation prohibiting hate crimes and discrimination coming to naught following a backlash from conservative Malay groups.
The #Merah169 protest, where thousands of Malays rallied in the capital city yesterday, was marred by sporadic outbreaks of racism targeting the ethnic Chinese minority, with one Malay protester recorded calling a reporter “Cina gila babi” [Crazy Chinese pig] and telling her to “Balik Cina” [Go back to China].
The rally dubbed “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” [United People’s Rally], alternatively called “Himpunan Maruah Melayu” [Malay Dignity Rally], also saw placards with racially-tinged slogans in Malay like “Malaysia belongs to the Malays”, “Defend Malay rights”, and “Get rid of SJKC”, referring to Chinese vernacular schools.
Police were forced to briefly deploy water cannons against protesters who refused to disperse from Petaling Street, though the gathering at Padang Merbok ended peacefully.
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