We, the undersigned, noted with interest the proposals by the Minister Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa to set up a commission on national harmony and reconciliation as well as to introduce a legislation on religious and racial hatred.
While we welcome and applaud the proposal for the setting of a commission on national harmony and reconciliation to deal with extremism and bigotry, we note that the terms of reference and scope of function of this commission have not been disclosed. The civil society views that the terms of reference and scope of function of the commission is vital in ensuring the objectives of the establishment of the commission as announced by the minister are achieved. In this respect, a full disclosure of the terms of reference and scope of function is needed. Furthermore, we call upon the ministry to conduct consultations with the relevant stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that the terms of reference and function of the commission is indispensable. We also view with much reservation, the choice of word, “Hatred” to be used as the name in the proposed legislation. In building a more progressive, just and harmonious society; it is important for a more positive term to be used instead.
In addition, we are in the dark on the objectives of the proposed legislation in fostering greater unity and harmony against the elements of religious and racial hatred. It is believed that both the commission and proposed legislation will incorporate elements of the now defunct National Unity Consultative Council’s report which have never been made public. It is therefore important for the findings and the recommendations highlighted in the National Unity Consultative Council’s report to be immediately released.
We, therefore, call upon the government to release the NUCC report as well as the details of both the commission and legislation to the public to ensure that maximum deliberation and views could be sought. We also call upon the Minister to hold series of consultations with the civil society, which have been at the forefront of confronting the issue of extremism and bigotry to promote unity and harmony in Malaysia. This would provide the Ministry with the sufficient and relevant input in combating elements of religious and racial hatred in the country.
Endorsed by CSOs & Member Organisations of GBM:
1) Bersih 2.0
6) Tindak Malaysia
8) Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) Malaysia
9) Projek Dialog
11) Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
13) Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
14) Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)
15) Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
16) Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
17) Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
18) Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)