Time to speak up
by Antonia Chiam, email@example.com. Posted on July 18, 2012, Wednesday
KUCHING: The voices of moderation must speak out against growing extremism, especially in political movements.
In saying this, Minister of Special Functions Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem added that most Malaysians were moderate while extremists were just a minority.
“Extremism is everywhere in the world and extremists are making the most noise because they want to be popular.
“They have been successful because the majority kept silent. But it is time for the silent majority to make noise in order to put down the extremists.
“Our political movements must reflect the character of the majority, who respect one another,” he said.
He was speaking at the “Understanding of Moderation (Wasatiyyah) and 1Malaysia” seminar at the Islamic Complex hall yesterday.
Adenan said the key in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia is mutual respect.
“It is a reality that we cannot avoid, regardless of the political divide. We are a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society and we must accept that. No one race can kick the other out, we are living together so we have to find ways to live harmoniously.
“We ought to think ourselves as Malaysians first, before our races,” he said.
He pointed out that in Sarawak; the 1Malaysia concept has long been in existence.
“Mingling with people from various races and religions is nothing new to us here. We want this spirit to be extended to Sabah and West Malaysia,” he said.
Those who championed extremism had no place in Malaysia and deserved to be marginalised since their stand did not reflect the real situation in the country, he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan explained at a press conference that the seminar was part of a series organised by Biro Tatanegara around the country to provide explanation to what the Wasatiyyah concept is and how it could be applied to Malaysia.
“This is a concept of moderation that can be practised by all for its positive values. We are thinking of combining elements from Wasatiyyah concept with 1Malaysia concept.
“We hope that Biro Tatanegara will conduct similar seminars at divisional or district level to increase people’s awareness about the concept of moderation,” he said.