Fernandez: We must preserve multiracial and religious harmony in the country

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should see beyond their own race for the sake of preserving the multiracial and religious harmony that exists in the country, said Malaysian Artistes Association (Karyawan) president Datuk Freddie Fernandez (pic).

Fernandez, 61, cited his own experience at Karyawan, which represents and fights for the rights of all Malaysian artistes regardless of race or religion.

He pointed out that his ethnicity had not affected him as head of the association – a position he was re-elected to for a third three-year term.

“Eighty per cent of our members are Malays yet they still accept me to represent them,” Fernandez said when commenting on The Star’s Brave Views, Bold Ideas campaign encouraging Malaysians to espouse such views but tempered by the voice of moderation.

Under the campaign, The Star has promised to keep discussions open and rational while showcasing liberal, moderate and balanced voices.

The newspaper has also pledged to be at the forefront to nurture and ensure moderation and reason over extremism and insanity.

Fernandez recalled while growing up, he played hockey with teams of mixed races.

“There was real solidarity among our team mates and three were no feelings of racial or religious superiority. We need to work hard to preserve the harmony among all races,” he asserted.

Fernandez said the voices of extremism, which are sowing discord among communities, do not augur well for the country.

“Telling one race or another that they don’t belong in Malaysia is uncalled for, disruptive and dangerous.”

Fernandez added that rather than focusing on differences, Malaysians should look at features that bring all races together.

“There are good and bad people along with the poor and rich in every race and religion.

“What’s more important is working together to make the country a better place for the next generation,” he said.

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