Rosyam Nor’s words cocktail of xenophobia, can a ‘Mamak Anneh’ flip the script?

ASHWIN KUMAR
ASHWIN KUMAR
10 Jan 2024 06:20pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - AI-generated pix.
Photo for illustration purpose only. - AI-generated pix.
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THE day the authorities announced a spike in rape cases was a wake-up call. It doesn't take a genius to brainstorm solutions – common sense is enough.

Let's break it down: beef up police patrols, boost their presence, and rally community vigilantes to eye shady figures preying on women.

Now, enter Rosyam Nor – a veteran actor and entrepreneur.

He throws a curveball suggesting brothels for foreign workers to tackle these rising crimes.

Maybe he's fresh from Amsterdam, where prostitution's legal to knock out illegal exploitation and improve sex workers' lives. But here's the twist: that's not how things roll in Malaysia.

Rosyam's more at home in cop flicks like 'Gerak Khas The Movie' than real-life crime scenes. Perhaps he missed Zakiah Anas's gritty crime exposes on TV3's 999.

Those shows don't just raid brothels; they link them to the sinister world of human trafficking. Back in the day, 'human trafficking' wasn't even a buzzword here.

However, in today’s world Malaysia has been moving from Tier 3, the Tier 2-Watch List and Tier 2 withing a span of six years based on the United States (US) State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

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On June 15 last year, the TIP report showed Malaysia was now back on the Tier 2-Watch List category, where it had been placed from 2018 to 2020 - an upgrade from Tier 3 in 2021 and 2022. Malaysia was placed Tier 2 in 2017.

Human trafficking has become a daily headline today. But maybe Rosyam's too caught up in the limelight to catch up on current affairs.

But let's sidestep the legal maze and talk foreign workers.

Rosyam's take? "If these men can't find relief, our women and daughters are at risk."

It's a grim, bad way to see foreign workers.

Did he ever share a smile with the Indian national "anneh" flipping roti canai at mamak restaurant?

To me, Rosyam's words are a slap in the face to these workers.

Imagine me, a journalist, in the US for a week, and I'm labelled a predator just because I'm away from home?

Rosyam's remarks don't just smear immigrants; they breed fear and suspicion, pushing a wedge in our community.

And, remember when Malaysia bagged a Nobel Prize for being the only country without sexual desires or brothels?

Just kidding – no such prize. But I hope Rosyam catches the sarcasm.

As a star with clout, Rosyam's words matter.

He's treading on thin ice, sounding a bit like the controversial Andrew Tate.

Is he chasing fame or genuinely worried about society?

His stature demands more thoughtfulness, especially with statements that could shape or shake societal norms.

Rosyam's words are a cocktail of xenophobia, oversimplification, and ignorance about deep-seated issues like prostitution, human trafficking, and immigrant perception.

He has since apologised it in an Instagram video posting and that he did not expect the matter to go viral. Conveniently, he also promoted the podcast programme. Could this just be a free publicity stunt benefiting his end?

Regardless, it’s high time public figures like him use their influence wisely, fostering unity and empathy, not stereotypes.