Racism: After 63 years, where is the love, Malaysia?

Sketch by Wong Soak Koon

Racism, a system propagated by irresponsible leaders and racist politicians, breeds hatred. What we need is love to help us heal, Krishnamoorthy Muthaly writes.

“What’s wrong with the world, mama

People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas

I think the whole world’s addicted to the drama

Only attracted to the things that’ll bring a trauma.”

lyrics of Black Eyed Peas 

Yes! Where is the love, Malaysia, after 63 years of independence? 

In my “aha” moments, I am always reminded of what my parents taught me. They always shared with my siblings and me the spirit of respect and love for one another and love for our country. “We reap what we sow. Plant a mango seed, and you get a mango tree,” my dad reiterated.

Likewise, if Malaysian politicians and religious leaders sow hatred and racism, it will result in animosity, violence, mistrust, anger and misunderstanding. Some children learned to hate one another as some parents and teachers planted thoughts of supremacy, race and bigotry in them.

Our home with our parents was an endless source of love and pure joy. Both my parents kept drumming in us the idea of unity in the 1960s as we were growing up in our house in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. 

On sowing the seeds, my father, a chief clerk with the National Electricity Board (now Tenaga Nasional), said: “If you children spent more time studying, the chances of being a professional are good. But, if you don’t study, you are not going to have a job to be happy and be your own boss.”

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Today, as I search myself, I find my parents’ advice so true. If we all lived as a loving community comprising all the ethnic groups of Malaysia, we would be united. 

Honestly, I am grateful to be born in 1949. Malaysia is a lovely heterogeneous nation, where we are all diverse and great in our own way – if only the discrimination stopped.

My journalism education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (1979-1983) ingrained in me the idea of equity and inclusion of whatever race that attended the university. Here, I also learned, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

My dear friends, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet regarding the result of racism in other countries. If racism continues in Malaysia, it will weigh down heavily on future generations. 

What we need is LOVE to help us heal. It is time to stop the hate! At a time when so much divides us, let’s focus on what can bring us together. Where is the love? If we want to be happy, we should practise compassion.

Racism is rooted in our attitude

Fundamentally, racism is created to justify one race as being superior to others. Racism is rooted in an attitude, belief or even behaviour. Racism is a system propagated by irresponsible leaders and racist politicians out to get votes. These are indeed attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that result from racism.

Recently, Azmin Ali said that the opening up of the Bersatu leadership to non-Malays is the way forward for the party. Malaysians should take this announcement with a pinch of salt because it is not unity that they are interested in… but your votes. His remarks came hours after Prime Minister and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said the party may amend its constitution to allow non-Malays to hold leadership positions.

READ MORE:  Quo vadis, Malay-Muslim politics?

Malaysians, take every chance to unite with one another as part of the human race, and vote with a conscience for leaders who are willing to unite the different races. 

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of the world, and as boundaries begin to vanish, cyberspace has created borderless communities. 

Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make the difference and vote for the right leaders.

In reality, there is no problem. It is only the Malaysian mind that has been confused by racist politicians. We must love, tolerate, accept and understand that we are all one, with blood thick in red. When confusion ceases, the problem created by racist politicians does not exist. 

We must therefore become level-headed to overcome the turmoil, uncertainty and risk we face from Malaysian politicians manipulating and deceiving our minds with racist feelings.

“Cause losing everything is like the sun going down on me, don’t let the sun go down on me,” in the words of Elton John. “It’s much too late to save myself from falling, I took a chance and changed your way of life, but you misread my meaning when I met you, closed the door and left me blinded by the light.”

“Where Is the Love?” is another song by The Black Eyed Peas about police brutality, racism and terrorism.

“Father, Father, Father, help us

Send some guidance from above

‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’

Where is the love?”

– The Black Eyed Peas

Krishnamoorthy Muthaly, a journalist with 35 years’ experience, has also taught journalism in a string of local universities and colleges. He is the author of People Power Saves Malaysia on the watershed 2018 general election

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Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
31 Aug 2020 10.22am


30 Aug 2020 4.04pm

Being born in 1949 myself, I look back with fondness at the time when I went out with my group of friends, indians, malays and chinese.
We had great times visiting each others homes during festivals. This is now gone for good. The greed of politicians to use whatever tools they had, be it religion, ethnicity and race has brought Malaysia down. Malaysia has failed as a state. We are never going to get back the beautiful memories that I have of my childhood. We remain a divided, hate filled nation because of political imbeciles.

30 Aug 2020 11.22am

Can every one stop using the word “tolerate” and use “acceptance”? I shouldn’t have to explain why. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Last edited 1 year ago by wanuno1
Lim Siew Lan
Lim Siew Lan
24 Aug 2020 10.04am

As long as each community continue to live and mingles , mix with only one’s skin, ie chinese educated ones who attends vernacular schools only mix with chinese, Indians who attends Tamil vernacular schools only mix with Indians. Damn it i written so many times, DO AWAY= GET RID OF ALL VERNACULAR SCHOOLS. WE ARE MALAYSIANS FIRST THEN ONLY OUR SKIN. IF OUR SKIN COMES ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEN WE ARE NOT YET CIVILLISED WELL CULTURED HUMAN BEINGS



24 Aug 2020 9.08am

Ya..plant mango tree get mangoes..it cannot get durians of course.
The Melayu factor…are these like white policies???
Now who are behind racialism??? Of course the political Malay leaders like Pas and ummo! Instead of cultivating good values on uniting people they [allegedly] plundered for their selfish ends. The lack of people progress and racialism were caused by these very so-called leaders. That’s bad for the country. 1MDB is a glaring bad example. People are paying sufferings due to these leaders.

26 Aug 2020 10.45am
Reply to  songpeehoa

Racialism is not only happen among Malay leader, it happen in other race leader too. Please be realistic , all Malaysian cannot deny that. But we must remember many of our leader also cultivated hormony n good value. So dont just generalized your statement.

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
23 Aug 2020 8.53pm

Watch this series on racism from the BBC (may still be available online).
An ideology that grew and strengthened with Western colonialism/imperialism and the slave trade.

“Racism: A History”


loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
23 Aug 2020 7.26pm

Where is the love, Malaysia?
To me, there has been no love in the first instance – well to be fair, none since the NEP in 1970.
For a short while after May 2018, there was the promise of change, perhaps the love that you are alluding to, Krishnamoorthy, springing forth.
Now we are left with the bitter aftertaste .