Independence Day video on Malaysia’s racism removed to ‘preserve harmony’

A Muslim welfare organization has taken down a video it produced ahead of Independence Day next week after receiving criticisms for using racial slurs. 

The video, produced by the non-governmental organization Ikram, was intended to instill a sense of patriotism among viewers while touching on the controversial topic of racism in the country, it said in a statement last night. The decision to remove the clip after it went viral was done to “maintain and preserve harmony between races.”

“Ikram believes that this stereotype needs to be stopped, especially since it can be picked up by children from an early age,” its statement said, adding: “As members of the community, parents in particular should always set a good example and educate their children with the noble values of unity in this country.”

Malaysia celebrates 64 years of independence on August 31. Ikram’s video went up Sunday before it was taken down, but copies of it are being reshared elsewhere online. 

The video opens with a Malay father skimming through his phone in front of his son and criticizing Indians for always fighting and the Chinese for being alcoholic and getting into traffic accidents. He even called them derogatory names like “keling” for Indians and “Cina Bukit” for the Chinese. The latter being equivalent to “redneck.” The video did not include racial slurs targeting the Malay-majority community.

The clip ended with the man’s son showing a drawing to his mother that showed caricatures of a Malay, Chinese, and Indian individual with racial slurs and statements stereotyping to the minorities. It ended with the boy’s voice saying: “I was not born racist, but I was taught.”

Ikram included a disclaimer in the video clarifying that the racial slurs used were for filming purposes and should not be practiced. 

Nevertheless, the video attracted mostly negative comments from Malaysians. 

“As a welfare organization, Ikram strives to always convey good messages and advice to all Malaysians regardless of race and religion,” Ikram said in the statement. 

Other stories:

Unvaccinated diners arrested after ‘social experiment’ at Malaysia restaurant

Billboard welcoming Malaysia’s new PM to flood stricken area draws flak on social media

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