PETALING JAYA: Amid growing calls to reject extremists, Malaysians are also asking for the authorities to act against those who incite hatred and fear.
In supporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s call not to give instigators the publicity they crave, civil society leaders are calling for the country’s moderates to drown out voices of racial instigators and not to tolerate extreme acts of any kind.
Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said most of the people who are moderate should voice their views more and louder against the minority extremists.
“The moderate voices should claim centre stage. But at times, some media tend to give the extreme views too much publicity. Although I am an advocate of press freedom, in times of need, I’m sure the press can do more by promoting and supporting the moderates,” he said when contacted.
He described extremists in Malaysia as those making divisive statements, adding that as a democratic country, such individuals and groups could not be banned and the only way to prevent them from being heard was for “moderates to be more vocal and drown the voices of the extreme”.
Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said inflammatory and provocative statements and evil acts must be nipped in the bud and called on Malaysians not to tolerate extremists and extreme acts of any kind.
“Their seditious statements and incendiary acts which undermine our national unity have to be exposed and those responsible from any quarters should be named, shamed, arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Ramon, who is also a member of the National Unity Consultative Council, pointed out that if the extremists were ignored, they could incite hatred and strife through social media, getting away scot-free while moderate Malaysians suffered from racial and religious persecution.
“How can we ignore extremists and their hate mail when we know that they go all out to destroy national unity?” he asked.
Social scientist Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said the Prime Minister’s efforts to have a national reconciliation plan must be supported by all while the authorities must act on those who incite hate and violence.
“I hope to see the proposed Harmony Act provide the NUCC powers to mediate. Community mediation is important in settling racial and religious disputes.”
Social activist Anil Netto said the Government must openly criticise right-wing groups when they make strident statements.