Institutional Racism and Religious freedom in Malaysia

Institutional racism is the process by which people from ethnic minorities are systematically discriminated against by a range of public and private bodies. If the result or outcome of established laws, customs or practices is racially discriminatory, then institutional racism can be said to have occurred. — Dr.Benjamin Bowling (Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice and Director of Criminological studies in the School of Law, King’s College London.)

In this paper we postulate that Malaysia has all the hallmarks of a racist and religious extreme state on the following foundation;

a) The Federal Constitution basically establishes 2 classes of citizens, vide Article 153, the root of the racist system.

b) The State sanctions racist and religious extreme laws and policies

c) The State controls the Government Administration through one racial and religious group

d) The State channels most funds for economic/education/social development programs and licenses, permits etc., to one race

e) The State controls Religious freedom to the disadvantage of non-Muslims, imposes of Muslim religious laws on non- Muslims and extends the jurisdiction of the Syaria Courts onto non-Muslims.

f) The State sponsors violence and threats of violence both directly and indirectly (outsourced) on the citizens to create fear among the non-Malay non-Muslims.

g) The State sanctions draconian, punitive laws and gives blank cheques to the Police to make arbitrary arrests of dissenters.

h) The State explicitly and implicitly declares that the Malays are the masters (Malay Supremacy) and the sons of soil.

Ethnic composition of Malaysia : Malays 53.3%, Chinese 26.0%, indigenous 11.8%, Indians 7.7%, others 1.2%. Religions: Islam (60.4%), Buddhism (19.2%), Christianity (9.1%), Hinduism (6.3%), other/none (5.0%). – US Department of State 2011

In the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, a Malay is one who is defined as one who is a Muslim, speaks the Malay language and habitually practices Malay culture, customs and traditions.

In reality as long as a person is a Muslim he can be a Malay, even an illegal immigrant and a foreigner who is a Muslim can be Malay.

Non-Muslims represent approximately 40 % of the population – approximately 12.5 million people and include Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and nature worshipping communities. The Indian population and other non-Malay and native races are clearly a minority community.

The treatment received by the minorities in Malaysia relating to public and private bodies clearly establishes that Institutional racism is occurring in Malaysia.

Malaysia is not that bubbling, bustling melting pot of races. In reality it is a country based on a subtle, pervasive and increasingly aggressive form of racism.

The conflict that lies just below the artificial calm, is so well concealed, that someone with not more than a cursory knowledge Malaysia will find it hard to believe that there exists anything significant otherwise . The current discourse holds that even what is termed racism here is no more than an outcome of a failing and incompetent bureaucracy. Everything else is just affirmative action.

The various state policies have been creatively crafted and carved into a jigsaw of a reinforcing racist system.The state system operates with the protection of official secrecy and a tight hold on the various apparatus of the state that whosoever dares to cross the line runs the risk of detention and malicious prosecution. This effectively renders the phenomenon of racism in Malaysia opaque and gives racism in Malaysia its uniquely Malaysian flavor.