PETALING JAYA - The "man in the street" has been honoured with the title Malaysian of the Year for embracing moderation.
Those interviewed by The Star, comprising people of all ages and races, stood up for moderation, declaring that extremism has no place in the Malaysian society.
"I am for moderation. I don't support anyone who is extreme," said Lio Ahmad Azin Mohd Hussin, 73, a retired head of school management for the Perak education department.
"To me, moderation comes down to the question: 'Who are you?' For me, as a Muslim, I must abide by religious rules while being moderate and adjusting to the ways of the non-Muslims," he said.
He felt that it was important for Malaysians to keep an open mind regarding sensitive issues and to not have extreme views that overly support or oppose any one issue.Earlier this year, The Star initiated its Voices of Moderation campaign, pledging for open, rational and moderate discussions and the showcase of the many balanced voices.
The Voices of Moderation campaign runs parallel with The Star's Brave Views, Bold Ideas campaign that was launched on Aug 10 to encourage Malaysians to espouse moderation while being open, rational and balanced in their discussions.
The newspaper has also pledged that it would be at the forefront to nurture and ensure the resounding triumph of moderation and reason over extremism.
Sales representative Tan Siau Jian, 25, said what moderation meant to her was the respect between one another.
"Tolerance and respect is the key towards a better Malaysia as we're living in a multicultural country," said Tan.
Albert Lim, 71, a retired businessman, was pleased to be asked about his views on moderation.
"It's high time people start thinking and asking more about moderation in Malaysia. The younger generation need to start doing more to help promote harmony among themselves."
In Lim's opinion, moderation would mean harmony for all the races.
He believes that Malaysians should do more to help each other, regardless of racial barriers.
"To me, everyone is Malaysian. Regardless of race or religion, we are all citizens of the same beautiful country," he said.
His granddaughter, 13-year-old Khaw Hew Feng from HELP International School, agrees.
She believed that as Malaysians, it is important to have moderation so that the younger generation would understand the true meaning of being part of a multiracial community.
Danish Imran, 17, from SMK Sri Hartamas believes that the key to moderation is "not expecting too much".
"Although the younger generation tends to expect more, we are more tolerant when it comes to issues such as race, religion and even politics," he said.
He believes that moderation means not being greedy, whether it is with money, power, or even self-righteousness.
His schoolmate, Ram Prasad Narayanan, 17, said: "Moderation will help to solve the problems which arise between different races."