KUALA LUMPUR - Moderation is a global agenda but it cannot be promoted on the world stage if it is not first practised domestically, says British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell.
Saying that Britain and Malaysia were working together on the agenda internationally, she said each had to look at how they managed moderation at home "to create a world where this agenda has force".
"Otherwise, where is the credibility in our international voice on this issue?" she asked in her opening address at "The Great Debate: Everything in Moderation" forum at the Malaysian Tourism Information Centre (MATIC) here Monday evening.
The event was organised by the British High Commission, The University of Nottingham, the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF) and BFM89.9.
Treadell said that during the recent British general election debates were lively and robust even in mosques and temples.
"Across communities, people were having tough debates. Sometimes it was quite intolerant of each other but in a moderate space," she said, pointing out that differences of opinion should be managed properly.
Treadell, who was posted here last October, was born in Ipoh.
She remembered how Malaysia used to be in the early 1960s. She said she returned several times when she was a teenager and then as a young diplomat.
"There's been huge positive transformation but I will be honest with you - one thing that disappoints me is that there is a little less tolerance in Malaysia," she said.
She called on Malaysians who believed in moderation to stand up and be heard.
Among those present were GMMF CEO Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
The panellists included, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low, Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, The Star columnist Niki Cheong, lawyer Firdaus Husni and Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar.