WE NEED A POLICY INITIATIVE FOR FOREIGNERS/REFUGEES IN OUR MIDST SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!
In Malaysia, we are all well familiar with ‘political and NGO actors aplenty dressed accordingly, giving impressions of being holy men and women, religious, and of dead sharp conservatism!”
Like snake oil sales men and women, they are super smooth talkers, using religious phrases at every sentence, have absolutely no qualms using “race, religion, entrenched prejudices and ignorance” to fan demonstrations, protests, walk-a-bouts, trips to manipulate issues that they pick and choose to initiate headlines because seriously, what sells better than race and religion – the two very explosive cocktails for maximum effect in Malaysia!
It has worked for a very wide group!
Though, mega dangerous in a multi religious racial country like ours!
We cannot but wonder whether they are serious, or all this is an act that they need to continue to play up, from time to time, as a mantra, to keep up guises, perceptions, and as it provides them a livelihood and image?
Of course, it certainly opens doors to meet powerful people that walk many corridors of power, as well!
The people in power too love it as it shores up their religious credentials to be seen with such actors?
As a political and social scientist, I cannot but ask several pertinent questions on this?
Among them, whether they are consistent or selective after the mischievous calculation, what provides them better political and media mileage?
The irony is they do not seem to portray or share that same enthusiasm for those already here the poorer and disfranchised foreigners/refugees living among us!
On the policy level, our state actors seem unable to roll out a stream of policy initiatives of dos, don’t, and what’s on the table, responsibilities of both parties and a road map for vulnerable and poor foreigners/refugees living in our midst to go forward!
I wonder why?
Perhaps, it is better and politically fruitful, avoiding the ‘elephant in the room’ and expedient for the actors here to scream for justice and attack the US, the Europeans and not forgetting the United Nations over a problem in West Asia, the Palestinians, the Myanmar authorities rather than to address serious systemic and underlying weakness in policy initiatives to assist the housing, education, retraining, employment, healthcare, social mobilizations and integration of various groups of vulnerable foreigners/refugees in our midst?
So whether it is the forced marrying off a child of 11 years due to poverty, though a cultural norm for young Rohingya women to stop schooling once they reached puberty so that they could be married off but in Malaysia a violation of the Child Act 2001, or the lack of funds forcing many to beg in the cities and traffic stops, lack of employment opportunities, education, housing, or the overdue addressing what happened, whose behind it, and did someone attempt to cover it up, then who – the Malaysian killing fields of the notorious Wang Kelian camp in Perlis?
The answers to these questions will denote whether we are a community that is truly sensitive to injustice, pain, and alleged genocide and suffering or just a very deceptive, calculative group of political actors, pretending on the national and global stage!
I would certainly agree that what Malaysia needs is a climate of change for refugees and foreigners living among us!
Truly there is no point in hosting and staging demonstrations and shouting for Palestinian rights, when they are thousands of miles away from us, while right on our doorstep, Rohingyas and other foreigners are alleged to continue to be ignored and treated poorly!