'Stop social media abuse'

KUALA LUMPUR - Like many Malaysians, business development executive Saw Kent Wyn is appreciative of social media as it gives a platform to voice thoughts.

However, he laments the abuse of social media to spread extremist views and the lack of stern action taken against many such negative statements and actions.

"I don't deny that social media gives a voice to people like me, who would normally not be heard. Still, there is very little limitation for expressing thoughts online, so that becomes a problem when the minority extremists use it to spread their ideals," he said at a forum on moderation organised by Gerakan Youth here yesterday.

About 30 youths attended the half-day forum to discuss their views on promoting moderation and combating extremism in Malaysia.

Saw, 24, also called on parents and teachers to work towards instilling values of moderation in children, as it was the best time to shape the way they think.

"All of us have an extremist and a moderate side. Proper education on moderation at an early age affects a person's mentality, making them lean towards it. It is impossible for us to change the whole nation, but it is a lot easier to change ourselves through education on moderate values," he said.

Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong told reporters the forum was organised as a platform for youths to air their views and concerns on moderation for Malaysia.

He said the forum was inspired by The Star's "Brave Views and Bold Ideas" campaign for moderation, launched on Aug 10.

"Extremist voices have been louder than the moderates. They are not building bridges, but walls," he said.

Another participant, Alan Yong, asked: "Why should we fight over some extremist views? We should be collaborating to make this country a better place to live in."

"To the extremists, please stop. You are ruining the country," he said.