Multiracial country. A variety of food choices. A lot of public holidays. Usually, this would be the interpretation of an average Malaysian when it comes to the presence of various races and ethnicities in the nation. And if that’s not enough, the idea of 1 Malaysia with the smiling faces of only 3 races in a poster would be plastered everywhere! What we fail to realise is that the idea of racial unity is more than just a poster or eating each other’s traditional food during festivities.
There are existing issues within the system that have yet to be acknowledged by a large group of Malaysians — racial issues that seem to appear due to the sense of superiority and inferiority between the races. The worst part? This issue seems to have affected the Malaysian sports scene too!
Over the weekend, national shuttler Kisona Selvaduray was the victim of racial slurs following her elimination from the Sudirman Cup in Finland. As a result of her exit from the well-coveted tournament, Facebook user, Borhan Che Rahim posted a derogative post that reads, “BAM took in an Indian (k****g) from an estate as the main player for the Malaysian contingent.”
Due to public backlash, the Bersatu divisional leader had deleted his post and has since apologised to Malaysians, and subsequently resigned from his position at the Pasir Puteh branch of the BERSATU political party.
This racially insensitive post got the attention of local comedian, Harith Iskander who shared these statements on his Instagram page. The caption on his post reads, “I am posting this because I am enraged not just at the racism but also at the pure stupidity – it’s one thing being secretly racist amongst your other racist friends but to post it on social media just to reflect on the complete lack of awareness which, to be honest, is just as scary.”
Adding on, he said, “Yes, the individual has “apologised” and resigned from his position in a political party which is the right thing to do but this needs to be another message to all of us that we need to step up and realise that as a nation we still have a lot to work on in terms of race relations and kindness.”
Wise words, truly! Following this uproar over this post, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), issued a statement over the disappointment felt towards the post.
The organisation said, “BAM is utterly appalled by the racist remarks made towards our national women’s singles player, S.Kisona. As the governing body of the sport in the country, BAM has zero-tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination thus we absolutely condemn the remarks, and we will always stand up for our players. Such a dreadful remark is uncalled for, and we urge all Malaysians to condemn this senseless act. We will continue to uphold all initiatives that support progressive and inclusive nation-building.”
BAM CONDEMNS RACISM IN SPORT
BAM is utterly appalled by the racist remarks made towards our national women’s singles player, S Kisona. pic.twitter.com/jWJ8BLCCLg
— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) October 3, 2021
Nevertheless, let’s hope this incident serves as a huge reminder that being Malaysian requires more than preaching the words of, “1 Malaysia” and speaking 4 different languages. Instead, it requires awareness of the basic elements of privilege, respect and kindness.