Disclaimer: This piece reflects the writer’s opinion. It does not reflect the opinions or beliefs of WORLD OF BUZZ.
Most of the time, being a refugee is difficult. I mean, on top of losing loved ones, being on the run and being stateless with hardly any way of livelihood, they also have to endure hatred from communities where they seek refuge.
And sadly, for the refugees in Malaysia, this is just their everyday life.
For instance, Syarifah Amin took to her Twitter account to showcase a popular western restaurant in Shah Alam, Polperro, who posted a sign outside their store forbidding ‘beggars, salespersons and Rohingyans‘ from entering.
“Beggars, salespersons, and ROHINGYANS are not allowed in this premise” When I say xenophobia is strong in our community, this is what I mean. Disallowing a marginalised community to enter a FOOD establishment feels a lot like nazi germany to me. im disgusted. do better Shah Alam pic.twitter.com/0AAgj3sOUy
— Miss Atomic Bomb (@SyarifahAmin) September 24, 2020
She wrote, “When I say xenophobia is strong in our community, this is what I mean. Disallowing a marginalised community to enter a FOOD establishment feels a lot like Nazi Germany to me. I’m disgusted. Do better, Shah Alam.”
The signage at the outlet reads, “Beggars, salesmen and Rohingyans are prohibited from entering. Please cooperate. We apologise and thank you.”
“Rohingyans are already victims of an ongoing genocide in Myanmar and to have Malaysians polarise them even further? Legitimising hatred towards this community? Classifying ‘them’ and ‘us’? For a country that glorifies Palestinian refugees in the name of ‘Islam’, we’re clearly putting refugees from different countries on a totem pole,” Syarifah added.
And true enough, we are. It’s becoming more and more clear that most Malaysians are either subconsciously discriminative against certain refugee groups, or they’re fully aware that they are and just plain don’t care.
But, it’s not too late to change.
Polperro has since apologised for their mistake.
They wrote, “We from Polperro Group Sdn Bhd would like to humbly apologise on our mistake for displaying a memo based on racial/citizenship issues. We will be more vigilant against any statements that will be issued in the future. Thank you for the reprimand from the community who are concerned about our mistakes.”
Making mistakes is completely understandable, but what’s most important is how we behave after.
It’s not too late to start treating the Rohingyans with kindness and support, and it is certainly time that we start.
Rohingyans are people too.
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comment section.
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