Proposed commission on national harmony: Wider consultation needed

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We, the undersigned, note with interest the proposals by the honourable Minister, Mujahid Yusof Rawa to set up a commission on national harmony and reconciliation and to enact a bill on religious and racial hatred.

While we welcome and applaud the proposals 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.

Civil society views that the terms of reference and scope of function of the commission are critical to successfully meet the objectives of the commission as announced by the minister. In this respect, we call for a full disclosure of the details of the proposed commission to the public and to conduct consultations with the relevant stakeholders and interested parties.

We also view with much reservation, the choice of word “hatred” to be used as part of the name in the proposed bill of legislation. In building a more progressive, just and harmonious society, it is important for a more positive term to be adopted instead.

In the same manner, we are in the dark on the proposed bill, its objectives and what it seeks to foster for greater unity and harmony against the elements of religious and racial hatred. It is reported that both the proposed commission and the proposed bill will incorporate elements of the now defunct National Unity Consultative Council’s report, which has never been made public. This creates much uncertainty and unease with these proposals.

We, therefore, call upon the government to release to the public the council’s report as well as the details of both the proposed commission and the proposed bill. We also call upon the honourable minister to hold a series of consultations with the civil society organisations that have been at the forefront of promoting unity and harmony and speaking out against issues of extremism, bigotry and all forms of prejudices in Malaysia.

READ MORE:  Start building a truly undivided Malaysian society now

Endorsed by CSOs:

1) Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAman)
2) Bersih 2.0
3) Community Action Network (CAN)
4) Engage
5) Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (Prima)
6) G25
7) Justice for Sisters
8) KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
9) Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) Malaysia
10) LLG Cultural Development Centre
11) Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (Mipas)
12) Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (Mitra)
13) Malaysian Youth Care Association (Prihatin)
14) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
15) National Council of Women’s Organisations, Malaysia (NCWO)
16) Oriental Hearts and Minds Study Institute (OHMSI)
17) Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
18) Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
19) Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
20) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
21) Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham)
22) Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (Rapat)
23) Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
24) Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia
25) Projek Dialog
26) Pusat Komas
27) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
28) Sisters in Islam (SIS)
29) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
30) Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
31) Tindak Malaysia
32) United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
33) Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami)

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