Diasporian News of Friday, 26 September 2008

Source: African in Malaysia

Malaysia: Not A Country To Go

In the wake of recent serial killings and severe discrimination of the Africans by mainly the Malaysians I wish to advice my fellow Africans who were made to believe that Malaysia is a “humble” destination for foreigners to consider Malaysia as “not a place to go”. Malaysia appeared to be a country of mixed races namely, the Malays, Indians, and the Chinese. One would expect that there should be high degree of racial tolerance. One would also expect that Africans or foreigners in general should be tolerated under normal circumstances. We once heard of our own Kofi Anan urging other countries to emulate Malaysia due to her racial harmony. I wish to tell him and all Africans that “she” cannot be our role model. We should not forget that a country that is racially harmonious must tolerate people from all walks of life. Malaysia is not such a place, this is due to the fact that (1) Africans are regarded as social misfits (2) we are not protected by the law and (3) we don’t have job security.

SOCIAL MISFITS

The African had been and continues to be a “nuisance” in the eyes and minds of the citizens of Malaysia, not excluding the police personnel. Do not be astonished if you realize that the moment they see any black color from Africa he or she is perceived to be a criminal. Their conclusion is that all blacks are criminals. This perception was long ago infused in their minds by the media. The media always portray the negative and the deplorable states as well as the conflict zones of Africa. The youth always refer to us as “Negros”. These very bad remarks ended in the painful death of many Africans in Malaysia. In the recent periods two Nigerians were poisoned in a restaurant, a Yemeni guy lost 3 fingers as he was trying to block a knife that was aimed at his chest, 2 Egyptians were asked by some locals to give whatever they have, when they refused, a fight broke out and all the locals at that area came to fight the Egyptians without knowing the reason!!! Another Egyptian was robbed of RM4000 and beaten up. In Melati Utama, bikers usually rampage the net cafes from time to time with knifes and baseball sticks frightening the people in it and taking whatever they have. These are just very few of the cases.

Let me give you a recent case in Wangsa Maju that has led to the untimely death of an African student from Chad. African undergraduate, HELP University College, Abdel Aziz Hassan Abdraman, 22, (his picture shown above) was brutally murdered just because of his color.

On Saturday, there was a mob attack by some 20 youths wielding metal rods, sticks and knives on 10 African undergraduates in Wangsa Maju which landed in his death and injured the rest, they were unjustly harassed and mocked by the youths for four consecutive days before the attack. The youths even went up to their Tar Villa apartment and demanded money and cigarettes. According to the students and as reported by the Malaysian Newspaper ”Malay Mail” the drama unfolded when three undergraduates were on the way to board the LRT to perform “terawih” prayers (long prayers by the Muslims after they have broken their fasting) at a nearby mosque at 8.30pm.

They were confronted by some 20 youths who were believed to have hurled abuse at them (they called them Negros) and demanded money.

When the trio ignored them and walked away, the youths, carrying switch blades, pursued them and struck one of them on the head.

The students took refuge at the LRT (Train Station) and sought assistance from their African friends living nearby.

Seven of their friends, including Abdel Aziz, went to their aid and together they went back to where the trio was attacked.

Abdel Aziz’s cousin, Abdraman Moussa Mohamat, 23, said: “We asked the youths who were seated at the stalls why they had attacked our friends but they came for us suddenly without saying a word.

“We ran for our lives when they began swinging metal rods, sticks and knives at us. In the fracas, Abdel Aziz was stabbed from the back.”

POLICE CONFIRMATION

The police confirmed that the victims had been regularly ridiculed by the youths who expressed their displeasure at the increasing presence of Africans in the neighbourhood.

BUT WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF THE POLICE?

Sentul district police Chief Assistant Commissioner Zakaria Pagan told Malay Mail that initial investigations revealed that the attack stemmed from the uneasiness of the residents over the behavior (increasing umber of students) of the Africans.

Therefore:

“We believe the youths who attacked the Africans wanted to teach them a lesson to behave themselves in public.”

What a shit?

WHAT ABOUT THE TAXI DRIVERS?

All the taxi drivers categorically refused to pick up the boy when he was injured. Within 15 minutes all the taxis DROVE AWAY without even stopping. It was not a surprise since they always don’t want to pick up blacks. You may be at a taxi station waiting hours while there are taxis available but will refuse to go just because you are a black man.

It is clear in all material respect that Africans are treated like animals and must not live together with “them” in the society. Discrimination we acknowledge is everywhere but not to this extent. I could remember the very first time I arrived in Malaysia, right at the airport people distanced themselves far away from me as I approach them. I could not ask anyone for direction. It was a foreigner who rescued me. In the classroom, Malaysians sit far away from us unless they have no choice. Lecturers themselves who were suppose to be agents of change follow the same suit when marking our papers. We work very hard to achieve excellent results and they try very hard to making sure that we land in futility. They do not want us to outcompete the local students. We thank God, despite all odds we do emerge as the best of all in all.

INSECURITY

The security system in Malaysia is well designed and perfectly carved to protect the Malays. We foreigners have no security. Anytime we have a dispute it always goes against us. Any case reported to the police is discarded if the Malaysian is found to be guilty. “We believe the youths who attacked the Africans wanted to teach them a lesson to behave themselves in public.” You teach us a lesson by killing us? The police records will prove that about 99% of the reported cases were initiated by the Malays. Many were arrested for a crime they did not commit. The only misbehavior as they claim is that we blacks talk loudly thus disturbing them. Therefore, as the number of students increases they feel uneasy.

I urge all prospective students who wish to study here to reconsider their decisions. Malaysia is not a suitable atmosphere for education due to intense discrimination and insecurity. It has the entire physical infrastructure needed to facilitate learning but the student’s mind is constantly occupied by security concerns. Almost every month, if not a week, a student must die like an animal without any concern by the government of Malaysia. The worse of it all is that the African embassies in all these cases voiced not. We did not know before we stepped in. Now you know make a wise decision. Our lives worth nothing in the face of their security personnel. Some of us may not see our families and loved ones in the years to come if still in Malaysia. Some dropped their studies prematurely and went away just to feel secured.

JOB INSECURITY

For those who came here in the name of job and went back home within some days will bear us witness. It is very difficult to secure a job. Once you are through you could be dismissed anytime unnoticed. They don’t just trust foreign workers. Jobs that they consider as demanding, dirty, risky, and dangerous to their lives were those given to foreigners. Examples are working in the petrol shell, shopping malls etc. Just this month, the government came out with a decision to have a zero percent of foreign workers in these areas. Hence, the companies in the mentioned areas were told to terminate the contracts of all foreign workers since the Malaysians are now ready to work. On top of that, all foreign companies in Malaysia are now required to employ only locals with narrow space for the foreigner.

In fact students here face difficulties to getting companies for their industrial training. Not because of our academic inability. We have the potential. We usually turned back to our nations if affordable for the training. Master and PhD students in most cases have no choice than to teach in the primary and Junior high schools. The lucky ones may get senior high schools which otherwise they will not have accepted if at home. Exceptional cases may lead some of them to university level.

In a nutshell, let us not again risk our lives to travel all the way from Africa to Malaysia for education or in search of jobs. Let us stay where our dignity is respected, where our minds find rest, and where our blood will not be shed just because of our color. LET’S LOVE OUR HOME COUNTRY AND WORK TOWARDS MAKING IT A BETTER DESTINATION AS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEEN. STAY IN AFRICA… FOREIGN AFRICAN STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS SHOULD GO BACK TO AFRICA AFTER STUDIES TO SHARE THEIR TALENT.

African in Malaysia qarsumi@yahoo.com