Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Putrajaya to table Race Relations Bill in March

Nazri said such a law was needed to police inter-racial interaction.

Putrajaya will table a Race Relations Bill in March to regulate interaction among the races and foster mutual respect, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz says.

The proposed law would be modelled on Britain’s Race Relations Act, the minister said.

He told Sin Chew Daily in an interview published today the proposed law, which will be used to combat racial extremism, was one of two replacement laws for the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had pledged to abolish the draconian ISA, which allows for detention without trial, in his Malaysia Day speech earlier this year.

Nazri stressed in his interview with Sin Chew Daily that Malaysia needed race relation laws as it was important to set limits to what people say and do in a multi-cultural country.

He noted that even developed countries had use for such laws, pointing out that the skipper of English Premier League football team Chelsea, John Terry, was charged with hurling racial abuse at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry, however, was not charged under the Race Relations Act but faces a fine of £4,000 (RM20,000) for a “racially aggravated public order offence”.

Nazri said that Malaysia’s Race Relations Bill would take after the British law in barring discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnicity and nationality in employment, provision of goods and services, education and public functions.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon told Parliament in October last year the government would not introduce race relations laws despite growing criticism against Putrajaya for its apparent inaction against allegedly racist civil servants.

These included two school principals, one of whom allegedly told students during an assembly that the Chinese could go back to China and Hindus were like “dogs” because of their prayer strings.

Koh, who is minister in charge of national unity, had said then there was no need for such a law as Malaysia had enough legislation to govern race relations.

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