No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.– Elie Wiesel, American writer, political activist and Nobel laureate
The recent and tragic killing of George Floyd by the police in the US has triggered a large number of Black Lives Matter protests.
The rallying cry at the protests－”I can’t breathe”－ signified the last few words of Floyd pleading for his life as a policeman chocked him to death with his knee on his neck in full view of cameras.
I do hope there are lasting positive changes to prevent a similar abuse of power.
Coming at a time when many lives have been lost to the Covid-19 virus around the world is a double whammy for the US.
To top it off, it appears they have a president with questionable values. His penchant for regularly performing moral gymnastics and his peculiar concept of truth is quite difficult to digest.
He seems to have brushed aside the threat of Covid-19 and comes across as paying scant attention to cohesion and peaceful race relations.
One would have thought that a nation as advanced and with a multitude of mature democratic institutions would have had managed the pandemic better and also treated its citizenry with fair policing methods.
In its time of great need, their commander in chief has failed its people, at least from the perspective of a person such as myself looking in from the outside.
In Malaysia, on the other hand since the commencement of the movement control order on March 18, I am sure most of us have to admit that good effort has been made to contain the spread.
Credit must be given where credit is due.
However, in Malaya, on the policing front, there have been complaints from time to time. Allegations of deaths in detention due to police brutality based on racial profiling tend to surface.
On this matter, it would be ideal if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill is presented in Parliament.
The proposal to set up the IPCMC was made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the police. It was published in 2005.
The purposed is to have oversight of police behaviour in relation to misconduct such as police brutality, custodial deaths, shootings and cover-ups.
Our de-facto Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, in March this year, stated that the Bill would be reviewed and refined before the Cabinet made a final decision. Let us hope in the fine-tuning process, its effectiveness will be maintained.
When it comes to race relations and religious sentiments across the South China Sea, in Malaya, they have a more chequered history.
Some politicians － to gain popularity － have pandered to the base instincts of racists and religious bigotry of some segments of society.
Unfortunately, they have over the years managed to negatively influence, stoked up hatred, and made racial and religious discrimination an acceptable practice.
It is imperative that our elected representatives and politicians at all levels understand that we are all one race — the human race.
The last couple of years have been turbulent and not conducive for Malaysia. Most people would agree that Malaysian lives have not been put at the forefront in terms of peace, stability and economic prosperity for all.
The incessant drive at any cost for political supremacy and by all means possible has led to a climate of deteriorating confidence and ‘no-hope’.
In political circles, revenge and counter revenge appears to become de rigueur.
Let us hope these politicians come to their senses and realise that peace and stability are usually balanced on a knife-edge.
All it takes is one moment of senselessness, and it can cause a negative ripple effect, such as the one in the US and various other nations.
In the meantime, on the Covid-19 front in Sarawak, the Sarawak government via its Sarawak Disaster Management Committee has indeed gone the extra mile to ensure they minimised the spread.
Once again, a big thanks to all those involved in managing an extremely challenging situation during these extraordinary times.
Now in Sarawak, we are still on the safe side of the fence in all aspects of our lives and let us pray and act in a manner that will keep us firmly stable.
Our politicians and administrators need to continue a path that supports all its people’s aspirations so that they transpire into reality, especially via equal opportunities.
As long as politics in Sarawak has an ‘All Lives Matter’ as a guiding principle and the ‘we are all one human race’ ethos, we will have sustainable peace, stability and economic development and will move forward in leaps and bounds.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.