,The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's government to clamp down on hate speech and accede to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).In a message commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is observed annually on March 21, Suhakam noted with concern the rise in hate speech, especially in online formats."Unfortunately, social media is being misused, by some quarters, for public shaming and blaming with verbal attacks, racist and xenophobic statements published targeting particular ethnicities and nationalities."The majority of social media users are youths, and without proper guidance, this will risk exacerbating racist and intolerant attitudes."Suhakam urges the government to step up its efforts to implement policies and measures to counter hate speech and intolerance and to provide open platforms for youths and various groups in society to discuss and address the issue of racial discrimination in Malaysia," the human rights commission said in a statement today.It pointed out that this year's theme is "Youth Standing Up against Racism", which recognises the increasing role of youth in society and in charting the future of the nation.Suhakam suggested positive steps in the form of intercultural dialogues with a view to promoting mutual tolerance and respect for human dignity in a multi-ethnic and multicultural Malaysia."We emphasise the importance of fostering a culture of tolerance, equality and non-discrimination among youths, where the potential lies to develop a just, peaceful and sustainable society in the future", it said.Suhakam also addressed the issue of Malaysia acceding to the Icerd convention against racial discrimination. Under the Pakatan Harapan government, it was announced that Malaysia would do so, but following some protests by right-wing groups, the government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad backed down."Suhakam reiterates its call to the government to accede to the Icerd as it will serve as a catalyst for more concerted effort to promote and protect human rights for all regardless of race, colour, descent, nationality or ethnic origin," it said.
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