Don’t refer to individuals by race in the courts
THERE has been much said about the 1Malaysia concept. Indeed, it assures a more harmonious nation, and for this to materialise 1Malaysia has to be instilled in the “vital organs” of the country.
In my regular visits to the courts, I hear statements being made during trial in which individuals are referred to by their race. This is especially so when witnesses are called.
Be it in the Sessions court or the High Court, there are police officers, experts and prosecutors from the Attorney-General’s chambers who refer to individuals by their race.
For example, terms like “dua lelaki India (two Indian men)” or “budak Cina (Chinese child)” or “wanita Melayu(Malay lady)” are often uttered by the groups mentioned.
I am sure the racial identity of the individual can be omitted and reference can instead be through their physical description, job, etc.
The mere recognition of one’s racial identity is the initial spark to racial discrimination leading to a divided nation.
When such is the habit in court, it is difficult to expect laymen to embody the 1Malaysia concept.
Members of the executive and judiciary are highly respected people who are the heroes of many children, thus it would make a great difference if these groups can be colour-blind.
All men are to be regarded as equal in the courts of the realm and this equality can only be truly achieved if reference by race is not made.
A word to witnesses not to mention anyone by their race and a circular issued to policemen and lawyers advising against such references can go a long way towards moulding the attitudes of these respected members of society in regard to 1Malaysia.
This may seem a trivial issue but it is the small details that form the bigger picture.
Happy 52nd National Day to all Malaysians!
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