The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) organised a webinar, “Perceptions Towards Discrimination in Malaysia” on the18 March 2022.
The webinar was held to culminate the end of IDEAS’ 2- year project, “Promoting National Unity and Inter-Racial Harmony” funded by the European Union (EU) and in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which falls on 21 March every year.
During the webinar, IDEAS launched the graphic handbook, “#TanpaPerkauman: The Road to a Discrimination- Free Malaysia”, published in collaboration with our project partner Imagined Malaysia.
The webinar kicked off with welcoming remarks by IDEAS CEO, Tricia Yeoh, who shared her insights on the project’s achievements as well as some of the lessons learned.
This was followed by pre-recorded remarks by the EU Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Michalis Rokas. In his remarks, the Ambassador mentioned that combating racism requires continued leadership and engagements from all sectors.
“The event is a stellar example of the importance of cross-sectoral collaborations, showing Malaysia’s commitment in eliminating racial discrimination.”
“The European Union and Malaysia mirror each other, in the sense that our foundations are built on diversity.”
As part of the project, IDEAS commissioned the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research to conduct a national survey on the Perception towards ICERD and Ethnic Relations in Malaysia.
The Co-Founder and Director of Programs at Merdeka Center Ibrahim Suffian presented the survey findings.
Some of the interesting findings from the survey are: 48% of respondents have heard of ICERD, most of the Malay Muslims believe in conspiracy narratives over ICERD and 21% of respondents have heard of IDEAS’ advocacy campaigns #TanpaPerkauman and #KitaBukanKami.
The full survey report will be available to download from the IDEAS website by the end of this week.
A panel discussion then followed, with Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria from Institut Kajian Etnik (KITA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Dr. Ryan Chua from Pusat KOMAS.
Both panellists discussed the importance of the survey findings, ways forward for better social cohesion and some of the challenges ahead for those that genuinely believe in a multicultural Malaysia.
Throughout this 2-year project, IDEAS conducted two national surveys to measure public perception of ICERD, held twelve focus group discussions with grassroot communities across the country, organised nine roundtable discussions with nearly fifty civil society organisations and assembled over forty youths to participate in its Akar Umbi Kita workshop series.
Besides that, they have also published six social experiment videos under the Projek Sama-Sama label and one hundred and twenty bilingual Tanpa Perkauman infographics for IDEAS one year Kita Bukan Kami digital communications campaign.
“IDEAS extends our gratitude for all the support we have received from our project partners Invoke, Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS) UKM, Imagined Malaysia, The Fourth, Architects of Diversity and Merdeka Center,” comments CEO of IDEAS, Tricia Yeoh.
“Not to forget our funder, the European Union, who has been steadfast in their support for our work. We hope to continue our efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive and multicultural Malaysia through education, awareness and healthy conversations,” she concluded.