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Malaysia: Outrage at racist blogger

Categories: Malaysia

Blogger “Sammy”, reported to be [1] a 22 year old employee in a Kuala Lumpur advertising firm, was reported to have posted anti-Indian sentiments on her blog, Life is a Drama [2]. The blogger posted her comments after she claimed her mobile phone was stolen by two alleged Indian youths when she was having lunch on Sept 23.

Blogger Sammy

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) [3] has since called on the police to take action against the blogger for her racist comments. Hindraf’s Penang coordinator, MN Anbalgan, and information chief, S Vadi Velan, lodged a police report in Butterworth against the blogger’s posting. Anbalgan was reported to have said:

Sammy’s racist remarks were totally uncalled, unacceptable and unbecoming of a true Malaysian… Her posting insults Indians, embarrass her own community and reflects badly on the polarisation of Malaysian society.

Blogger Sammy has since removed her racist postings, and wrote what appears to be an apology on her blog [4]:

Yes yes i am racist, but not all times. It doesn't help the fact that most of the phone snatchers i heard are Indians. Or Malay or Indons…

… Sorry if I offended any Indians. You should know that if you're one of the good, educated ones then you shouldn't be disturbed by what I say.

Malaysiakini [5], Malaysia's leading online news portal, managed to get a copy of her original posting, which was reported [1] to have included comments like:

I hate Indians. It’s bad enough they are famous for being drunk and rude (most of them anyway). Now they carry the reputation of being stealer, robbers, rapist, idiots, morons, drunkard bastards and list goes on…

I am not trying to be racist but it always Indian. It’s Indian fault. I don’t care if I am sued for racism.

Published reports of racism and comments sensitive to religion have made headlines this year, with consequences differing from situation to situation. Politician Datuk Ahmad Ismail was reported [6] to have made racist remarks during the lead-up of the recent by-elections. He was suspended from his political party for three years, while the reporter who had reported his remarks, Tan Hoon Cheng [7], was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 18 hours. The newspaper for which Tan reported, Sin Chew Daily [8], was given a show cause letter [9]. On the other hand, Raja Petra Kamarudding (RPK), is said to be in detention under the (ISA) because his writings ‘ridiculed Islam’ [10].

While some of these – like Sammy who herself admits she's a racist [4] at times -are genuine cases of racism, others have been used by the authority to curb dissenting voices. The concern on racial polarisation and anger on incidences of racism has caused the government to moot a Race Relations Act [11].

Butterworth police was reported to have said that the case would be investigated with the Bukit Aman national headquarters, since the alleged posting was made in the capital. It is unclear what charges will be filed against Sammy, if any, although her remarks appear to have a seditious tendency [12] under Malaysian law.

[Post script: since this original posting, Sammy has unconditionally apologised on her blog [13]. Hindraf was reported [14] to have accepted her apology. There is no word on whether any investigations will continue].