The act of the management corporation of Waja Apartments in Taman Tun Perak, Cheras in hanging up a banner with the words “Say No To African People” is totally unacceptable, says Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.

“It is a racist act and a form of stereotyping. This is against Malaysian values and is not in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he told The Star Online on Wednesday.

The former Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner added that there is a lot of prejudice in Malaysia against people from Africa.

“While there have been some bad experiences, we cannot say that the people are all bad. There is a lack of understanding and exposure. We must respect diversity and we must remember that people like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are from Africa,” he added.

Denison said that foreign embassies could play a role to highlight the positive aspects of their culture and people.

On Tuesday, the management corporation of Waja Apartments put up a banner carrying an image of a of a dark-skinned male crossed with a large, yellow “X” with the words, “Say No To African People”.

The banner also urged landlords and real estate agents to refrain from renting units to African tenants.

Most of the Africans here are students and professionals from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.

When questioned, Mohamad Sahidan Hassan, chairman of the apartment’s management corporation said the banner was a reflection of the residents’ feelings.

Asked about this, Denison said that new laws are needed to address hate speech and racism in Malaysia.

“Currently, there are no anti-discrimination laws and there is no complaint mechanism for racism. We need new laws. For a start, we can have community mediation centres which can address this but we must have new laws to address hate speech,” he said.


By The Star Online