– Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
February 26, 2014
I refer to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s well meaning advice to “just ignore extremists”.
With due respect sir, there are many Malaysians who will sincerely agree with me that this is not the way to deal with extremists.
Their inflammatory statements and worse still, dangerously provocative and evil acts, based on racial and religious hatred, must instead be nipped in the bud!
Their seditious statements and incendiary acts which undermine our fragile national unity have to be exposed, and those responsible from any quarter should be named, shamed, arrested and prosecuted. They have to be publicly exposed and harshly dealt with rather than inadvertently encouraged to do their dirty work stealthily, secretly, and without scrutiny from the rule of law!
Malaysians should not tolerate extremists and extreme acts of any kind in our multiracial, multi-religious and highly complicated and sensitive society.
If we “just ignore extremists”, they can incite hatred and strife through the social media and get away scott free, while most Malaysians who are moderates will be penalised and suffer from racial and religious persecution, from the very small minority of extremist lunatic fringe elements who will have a field day spewing poison in our society without any inhibition.
The security authorities too may take the cue and do little to restrain the extremists and stop the rot of degradation in national unity .
I dare say that some members of the enthusiastic National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), of which I am chairman of the Inclusive Development Committee, may feel that their best efforts at helping to build national unity could be eroded by ignoring extremists .
How can we ignore extremists and their hate mails, when we all know that they go all out to destroy national unity, so that they can, as the PM says, “overpower us”?
We have to alert our family and friends to keep them on their guard. But we will naturally and rightly expect the government and the security authorities to be more vigilant and quick to arrest the growing mischief of the evil extremists.
So Mr Prime Minister, please get tough and don’t be soft on extremists! Please do not introduce any thinking or policies that may curtail the necessary and justified criticism and condemnation of extremists and extremist acts, that could “incite fear and hatred”, that would undermine presently relatively peaceful and blessed Malaysia. – February 26, 2014.
* Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is chairman of Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute’s Centre for Public Policy Studies, and the former secretary-general of the Ministry of Transport.