It needs no reminding that Malaysia is a multicultural country that was built upon the foundation of mutual respect and understanding between a myriad of different races hailing from their own respective cultures. With that said, instances of racism and xenophobia do still exist in the country, as a Sudanese student has experienced first hand recently.
Sudanese student receives racist abuse from M’sian man on bus
In a video that was shared by Reddit user Tsilent_killer on the subreddit thread r/Malaysia, a middle-aged man clad in a blue shirt could be seen hurling vulgarities at the Sudan national after he was allegedly seen on-board a public bus without a mask on. Demanding that the student produce his identification documents before threatening to land him into trouble.
“Who are you?! Show your passport! You know who I am? You dunno right? I can get you into trouble, big trouble! What the f*ck!” he shouted.
Another older man who was seated could be seen making similarly discriminatory remarks, before the man in blue asked the Sudanese student if he can read the English signage on the bus.
“Do you know English?! You can speak! Do you read?!
What the f*ck, you follow the law in Malaysia!” he gestured at what is presumably a sign.
Leave Malaysia if you refuse to follow the law, man said
Both men then asked him to return to his country of origin if he refuses to follow the law, with the older of the two pointing at the student’s mask, calling it dirty and claiming that he must not have changed it for a while.
“He’s ashamed of his name, he’s ashamed of his country. What the f*ck are you doing in Malaysia?” the man in blue asks.
He then approaches the student and tells him to stop filming, asserting repeatedly that he had broken the law before telling him to ‘live and let live’ and taking a seat. The student remained otherwise calm throughout the entire tirade, and simply told the man to deport him or issue him a fine over the offense.
While Malaysia has relaxed the mask mandate considerably, commuters are still required to have a face-mask on in certain circumstances, such as when boarding public transportation.
Student explains his side of events after the racist tirade
In speaking with WauPost, the student in question, Ayman, said that at the time he had boarded a nearly empty bus near the Damansara Uptown area and had indeed forgotten to put his mask on.
“Shortly after, a man boarded the bus and bee-lined to me, shouting and asking where my mask was. I told him to calm down and take a seat as the bus was about to move, and that I would put my mask on.” he explained.
Yet, the man was not satisfied with his response and demanded for him to wear a mask immediately, before lashing out at him with profanities. Ayman claims that the older man who was seated during the altercation even went so far as to call him a ‘negro’, before telling him to return to his country.
“He even tried to convince the bus driver (who wasn’t wearing a mask) to kick me off of the bus. After around 3 minutes of being berated, I decided to start recording as they clearly had no intentions of stopping despite the fact that I put my mask on.” he said.
Has lived in the country for more than a decade
Having lived in Malaysia for over 14 years and completed his primary and secondary schooling here, Ayman adds that he does not believe that this incident was representative of Malaysians as a whole. With that said, out of the handful of other times that he has experienced similar instances of racist or discriminatory behaviour previously, this was by far the worst he has endured.
“However, I definitely don’t think that these people represent Malaysia in any way, some of the best humans I know come from a similar background to those men.”
He adds that moving forwards, he will make a point to remember keeping a mask on when boarding public transport to avoid a similar ordeal again and was simply glad that things did not escalate any further.
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