PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s ethnic diversity is world renowned and it should not be jeopardised by intolerance, said International Medical University external affairs director Prof Ong Kok Hai.
He said foreigners admire Malaysia because of its cultural richness, peace and harmony and Malaysians should not give these up because of extreme groups.
“This diversity is our strength. It’s an important legacy to pass on to our children and something we should live for,” said Ong, in response to The Star’s Brave Views, Bold Ideas campaign encouraging Malaysians to stand up for moderation.
He added that the campaign was timely because the voices of intolerance seemed to be getting louder.
“Things are getting out of hand in the country. All sane Malaysians will welcome this campaign,” he said.
Personally, Ong said he would like to see the silent majority, who he believed supported moderation, to make a stand.
He mooted the idea for The Star to organise a Walk for Malaysia Day, where everybody, regardless of where they are in the country, could come out to make a powerful statement that they stand for moderation.
Under the campaign launched last Sunday, The Star promises to keep discussions open, rational and moderate while showcasing liberal, moderate and balanced voices.
The newspaper has also pledged to be at the forefront to nurture and ensure the resounding triumph of moderation and reason over extremism and insanity.
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said he commended The Star for launching the campaign and providing space for its readers to express their views.
“Moderation is an essential foundation for harmonious relations among our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious communities,” he said.
He pointed out that moderation contributed to tolerance.
“Indeed, as we approach Merdeka and Malaysia Day, we should all work towards strengthening our national unity based on the philosophy of harmony in diversity,