Don’t hate, be moderate!
By LIM MAY LEE
The youth of Malaysia have taken a stand against extremism, by pledging their support to the movement of moderates.
A group of around 150 student leaders came together for the Voices of Moderation event at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus last Thursday, where they held townhall discussions on the importance of moderation, and how it should be practised in Malaysia.
The day-long event was organised by the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and supported by The Star’s Brave Views, Bold Ideas campaign for moderation.
Prominent figures such as Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, former United Nations General Assembly president Tan Sri Razali Ismail, and The Star group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai also joined in the discussion, sharing their thoughts on moderation with the students.
Razali, for instance, urged students to “immure themselves with knowledge”, and to take time to fully understand an issue before taking a stand.
And even after you take a stand, said Razali, it is important to respect those who might disagree with you.
Social media advocate, blogger, and former journalist Niki Cheong, who also spoke at the townhall, agreed. “We should celebrate the diversity of views. You have to allow people to have their views, even if they don’t tally with yours.”
Another issue discussed was how rash people can be these days, especially on social media.
Wong said: “We have to learn to have discussions without getting emotional or using offensive language. We should all be moderates, who are able to hold discourse in a rational manner.”
GMM chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah called the campaign “a huge success”, and plans to turn it into a series of events in campuses across Malaysia, partnering with The Star, Akademi Belia, and the universities’ Student Representative Councils.
“The fact that students showed up even though it was on a school day shows young people are excited about moderation,” said Saifuddin, adding that he hopes young Malaysians learn to internalise moderation as a value in different aspects of their lives.
“Moderation is the base value for unity, and unity is the soul of Malaysia.”
To add your voice to The Star’s campaign for moderation, post a message in support of moderation on social media with the hashtags #ModerateMY and #TheStarMY.
What you(th) want
Based on the townhall discussions with young people at the Voices of Moderation event, the Global Movement of Moderates found there were five key values Malaysian youth hope to see in their community, and throughout the country:
Though we may disagree with one another, we in the community should respect each other’s right to freedom of speech and expression.
We should have the courage to speak and make a stand on our views, always recognising that silence is not an option when faced with intimidation, injustice and intolerance.
The community must cultivate a culture of intellectual freedom by promoting constructive and rational criticism, where we accept different views without imposing anything upon others.
We must understand and celebrate the different views we all have in the community, and promote the importance of mutual understanding.
A moderate, progressive community won’t be achieved in a day – we must be resilient and determined.
Speaking up for moderation
Moderate campaign to hit campuses