Ran across a recent anti-anti-discrimination protest in Malaysia. One where a group of ethnic Malays were going to protest the UN ICERD. The International Convention to End Racial Discrimination.
This is not new. It was originally proposed back in the 1960’s. 179 countries have ratified it. Malaysia is sort of late to the party. With the recent change in government there was talk about whether this was the time it was going to be ratified.
Over 50% of the population is Malay of indonesian descent. Some 22% are ethnically Chinese. 6.5% are of Indian ancestry. There is a very small aboriginal population who’ve been in the country for 7,000 years.
There is a sizable portion of the Malay majority who are opposed to an end of racial discrimination, fearing that it will threaten the malay-ness. There are cultural and religious fears in this officially Muslim country. Their beliefs are that they were here first and so their viewpoint, culture, beliefs should come first. The aboriginal people don’t really get a say. They never do. Anywhere.
From conversations with local Chinese Malays, some of whom are 7th generation, the message they perceive is that they should be grateful that they were allowed to stay when their ancestors arrived.
Anyway, the government decided not to ratify that treaty. So, maybe next year they’ll give it another go.
The protest went on anyway. The protestors billed it as a celebration instead. That they had somehow staved off a threat.
An interesting fact, back in the 60s after Malaysia and Singapore were granted independence there were plans for Singapore to be part of the country of Malaysia as the 14th state. One of the main reasons they didn’t stay together was because Singapore leaders wanted equal rights for all and Malaysia did not. So, the two parties went their separate ways.