“SO Aunty, So What” columnist June Wong’s plea for our new government to continue to give space to peaceful dissent and criticism, “Of elbow room and breathing space” (The Star, June 5) is a reasonable and desirable request. In our thriving democracy, the powers that be must move away from the dogmatic “my way or the highway” way of thinking or doing things.
Suppressing peaceful or respectful competing views is not only undemocratic but can also threatens our nation’s interests and progress.
Proponents pushing for restricting or banning opposing viewpoints should well remember Socrates’ wise adage that “an unexamined belief is not worth believing”.
Restricting stakeholders, including the ordinary people, from expressing their respectful opinions or views infringe upon the freedom of the press and individuals. Specifically, ethical journalists who pursue public interest journalism can help to counter the proliferation of fake news.
Respectful exchanges of researched or factual opinions would help to keep Malaysia moving forward instead of being mired or stuck in an unquestioning inertia. The status quo needs to be examined or questioned, as our social, legal and economic environments and structures must gradually evolve in line with changes and progress in our aspirations and maturing democratic beliefs.
After all, the historic new government was born out of majority Malaysians’ keen desire and aspirations for a more accountable, transparent and inclusive nation.
SZE LOONG STEVE NGEOW