PETALING JAYA: Moderation can only prevail if more Malaysians are willing to speak up against extremist views, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
He said the biggest challenge facing Malaysia was that the majority continued to remain silent in the face of extremists who were vocal but few in number.
“The problem is that this minority is very loud because of social media which is projecting their voice, so if the silent majority remains silent, I don’t think we can hope to debunk the views of the extremists,” Idris said during an interview in conjunction with The Star’s campaign to promote moderation.
The campaign is a reminder to its readers that the newspaper has always been and always will be open to Brave Views and Bold Ideas but tempered by the voice of moderation.
Praising The Star’s initiative, Jala said it would help give moderates in Malaysia a stronger voice and encourage more to speak up and support the cause.
Jala, who is also chief executive of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), said community leaders should take the lead in promoting moderation by praising the positive practices of other communities.
“Leaders in the Chinese community could start by publicly extolling the virtues of the Malays and vice versa while the Christian community could present papers extolling the good values of Islam and vice versa,” he said, adding that this would help Malaysians progress beyond mere tolerance and into accepting and being able to celebrate cultural and religious diversity.
“Instead of cursing the darkness, we introduce light by talking about the good things in other communities because the more light we shine, the more the darkness will fade,” he said.
Jala said certain problems in Malaysia in which there was an extreme polarity of views could only be managed by adopting a moderate position.
“To adopt a moderate position, we must be willing to compromise. We cannot say that there is only one way to do it, which is my way. We must come to the centre,” he said.
He cited the Federal Government’s 10-point solution on the Alkitab issue as an example of a solution based on compromise.
“Every aspect of the solution was a compromise that dealt with where the Muslims and Christians were coming from, and based on an understanding of their sensitivities,” he said.