Webinar Summary No. 4 Year 2022 ‘How to Tackle Hate Speech, a Driver of Intolerance in Malaysia’

Hate speech plays a role in polarising society as it can lead to intolerant actions between groups of people. This is especially dangerous in Malaysia, where race and religion are often politicised by political and religious actors for political or personal gain. Things are also getting worse; following the 2018 general election, a spike of intolerant cases motivated by racism and religious hatred was reported by INITIATE.MY. In these cases, political and religious actors were observed to have used hate speech to stir public fear and anger, and mobilise protests and clashes. Although such actions are usually dealt with by the authorities through criminal prosecution, this is far from enough to tackle a multifaceted and complex problem such as hate speech. Legal reforms and restorative justice approaches must be prioritised as well to holistically tackle hate speech as the driver of intolerant actions by focusing on public education and providing redress mechanisms for victims of hate speech.