PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should focus on the commonalities among them and not differences if they wish to thrive for moderation, said Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.
“Real Malaysians all share something in common. There is good in all of us. We all should come together and talk about our commonalities instead of focusing on the negative parts,” he said.
Wong blamed politicians and self-appointed “champions of their own communities” which made up obscure NGOs for making poisonous statements that could potentially cause unrest among the people.
“Most Malaysians don’t talk that sort of poison,” he said at an hour-long special dialogue session at the Voices of Moderation youth campaign yesterday.
The campaign, which was held at the Taylor’s University campus yesterday, was organised by the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), with The Star as media partner.
Wong also pointed out that most Malaysians lacked the ability to hold an intellectual discourse.
“We have a situation where we look at social media and vulgar words are thrown in because they cannot have a discussion without getting emotional,” he said.
Earlier, former United Nations General Assembly president Tan Sri Razali Ismail said diversity should not only be limited to race and culture but also be applied to tolerating other people’s views.
If Malaysians are able to accept one another, they must also accept diversity in opinions that are unpopular or in the minority, he added.
“We must tolerate those who disagree with us,” said Razali during the “Community We Want” session.
Another panellist, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, said moderates must reject extremism by making a stand through voting. The Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman also said that one should be able to differentiate between an extreme point of view and a different opinion.
“There is freedom of expression, people can speak but there are bounds. Anything that wrongly suggests or rubs in sensitivity is considered extremism, so I recommend you exercise restraint,” he said.