Malaysian politician apologises & resigns after racial slur

Malaysia is a diverse country where people of different ethnicities and religions coexist rather harmoniously. But we all know how sometimes, people misuse the freedom of speech on social media by openly using racial slurs against others, such as this woman who called Indians penumpang after receiving backlash for her Malay-style Rasam recipe and later apologised.

This time a Malaysian politician is in the spotlight for making a racially charged remark against national shuttler Kisona Selvaduray, who represented the country at the 2021 Sudirman Cup in Finland.

Racial slur against national shuttler Kisona Selvaduray

Malaysian politician racial remarks on Facebook
Image credit: National MIC Youth மஇகா தேசிய இளைஞர் பிரிவு

The story of Malaysian politician Borhanudin Che Rahim using racial slurs against badminton player Kisona went viral on social media on Sunday, 3rd October 2021. One of his posts uploaded two days before, on 1st October 2021, with pictures of the national player in action came with a racially charged caption. In that particular post, he wrote: “From which estate did [Badminton Association of Malaysia] BAM picked up this Indian (keling) from to become the main player of Malaysia.”

The word keling is a derogatory racial slang word used against Indians in Malaysia. Borhanudin’s remarks written in Malay has since invited tonnes of backlash and anger on social media. Police reports were also made, including one from the Malaysian Indian Congress. The Badminton Association of Malaysia also condemned his remarks, saying that his words were uncalled for and urging fellow Malaysians to do the same.

A report by Malay Mail also clarified that Borhanudin, who made the remark through the Facebook account Borhan Che Rahim, is a vice-chairperson of the Pasir Puteh division in Kelantan for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Bersatu divisional leader says sorry and resigns from his position

Malaysian politician apology statement
Image credit: Ti Lian Ker

Following the backlash, Borhanudin apologised publicly through a written statement.

“I admit my mistakes and I realise that I have made a big mistake with my remarks. I would like to withdraw my words and apologise publicly to all Malaysians especially to those affected by my words. It was not my intention to derogate anyone or any race and I promise to improve myself in the future,” he said.

Within the same statement, Borhanudin also tendered his resignation as a divisional leader for Bersatu. However, Malaysians are still understandably upset by his words directed towards a national shuttler who fought her best in the women’s singles match against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung from Indonesia before losing with a final score of 22-20, 18-21, 21-19.

Among the concerns raised by Malaysians is that authorities should take stern actions against people who use racial slurs. They say apology alone is not enough because it could mean that they are not facing the full consequences of their actions.

Malaysian politician apologises for his racial remarks

It is undeniable that regardless of one’s social status or political power, racial slurs should not be allowed at all costs. In a multiracial country like ours, it’s important for everyone to choose their words carefully and to never fall back on disparaging remarks especially one that degrades a person’s identity.

We are glad to see Malaysians coming together to have each other’s backs and we hope this situation reminds everyone that racism in modern Malaysia will no longer be tolerated.

Read more here:

Cover image adapted from: Badminton Association of Malaysia – BAM and National MIC Youth மஇகா தேசிய இளைஞர் பிரிவு

Follow The Smart Local Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this. If you have a story to share, email us at