PETALING JAYA, March 21 — Racial discrimination will continue to prevail in Malaysian society as long as the country’s lawmakers remain members of race-based parties, Selangor Speaker Hannah Yeoh said today.
The DAP state lawmaker said it was a deep-rooted problem as those who spew racist remarks are typically ingrained with such thoughts during their formative years.
"You don't school someone when they are in university, these things start when they are young," she said.
"What they say, this is what they feel in their heart. They come from race-based parties, their thoughts will be about their race to begin with," she added.
Yeoh, who is married to an Indian, drew comparisons with her own experience of trying to have both her daughters registered as Malaysians under the race column.
"The National Registration Department (NRD) officials told us that we have to choose either Chinese or Indian race. Their system did not allow us to register the child as anything other than that," she said.
Despite numerous letters to government bodies, Yeoh said that she has yet to get an answer if she can change the classification of her daughters’ ethnicity.
The couple’s second daughter had her race automatically registered as Indian due to the father's ethnicity.
"So now we have both a Chinese daughter and an Indian daughter, from the same set of parents," Yeoh said.