G25: Stop racially manipulating issues

PETALING JAYA: Leaders of the G25 group of eminent Malays have urged the people to be calm and stop racially manipulating issues.

G25 founding member Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim (pic) said NGOs had a responsibility to ensure national issues be explained in a proper manner.

“Don’t sensationalise every issue. Some issues happened because of circumstances in the country.

“For example, unemployment or falling commodity prices, that has nothing to do with race and it’s beyond the control of the government.

“But people manipulate that into a racial issue. That is unfair and not right. We have to look at things in a proper manner. Don’t look at every issue through racial lenses, ” he told The Star after the “Dialogue Fosters Unity and Empowers Malaysian Youth” by Projek57 at Universiti Malaya yesterday.

Mohd Sheriff said hate speeches were bound to happen given the country’s large population.

“But you can’t handle it by arresting everyone. Of course, if they cross certain boundaries, there are laws to address that, ” he said.

He said it was not practical to censor every hate speech as Malaysia practised democracy.

“One of the prices we have to pay is that not everyone is rational. Not all will say nice words, some will be nasty. We have to know how to handle them, ” he said, agreeing with the call for Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik to be deported.

G25 spokesperson Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin backed the call for Zakir to be booted out.

She criticised his insensitive racial remarks, saying he was “stirring the pot” by making unnecessary attacks on Malaysian citizens of Indian and Chinese origin.

“It is totally uncalled for. He’s got permanent residency status. But, by getting involved in our internal matters, he has clearly breached the terms and conditions of his permanent residency status.

“That alone, the government can withdraw (his permanent residency).

“He should be deported. He is a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Why can’t he go back to Saudi if he is scared to go back to India?” she asked.

Noor Farida urged all Malaysians to stay calm and refrain from making provocative statements.

“We should not allow ourselves to be provoked into making foolish remarks. We have been living in harmony since independence.

“All races live peacefully side by side and we don’t need this foreigner to come and create problems, ” she said.

Noor Farida also urged politicians, mainly those from the Opposition, to stop stirring racial and religious issues.

“The problem is that the Opposition is the ones who are playing up racial and religious politics in an effort to destabilise the Pakatan government, ” she said.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism executive committee member Dr Herman Sastri said public discourse should mobilise Malaysians to embrace “diversity in unity”.

He said Malaysians must avoid hate speeches that could fracture their peaceful coexistence.

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