Stop giving space to bigots and extremists, Malaysian media told

KUALA LUMPUR - The media should stop giving space to bigots and extremists who have little tolerance towards other races and faiths, says a humanitarian NGO.

Humanitarian Care Malaysia chairman Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor said that they should not be allowed to take centre stage but be made to remain in the fringes.

"The media is giving them too much voice and this should end," he said in an interview after the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and the Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) co-organised a roundtable discussion on "Jihad in Syria" on Wednesday.

Dr Hafidzi said the online, print media and broadcasting stations were giving them too much space.

"Racial and religious bigotry should not be entertained," he said, adding that if the media gave them the space, they were actually nurturing them and the 1Malaysia concept would just remain a rhetoric.

"We must be serious in rebuilding the nation, otherwise people will withdraw into their own ethnic groups and become exclusive and this creates distrust, breeds prejudice and fuels racism," he said.

Dr Hafidzi said political agenda that promoted racial and religious extremism must stop and the ruling party, regardless of which coalition, must be more sensitive towards the people.

"If the seed of dissension is sown, it would have far-reaching consequences and would be borne by society and the future generation," he said.

He added that Malaysians should retain the harmonious country that they have and view one another as fellow human beings.

"We are all not immigrants. We are all born here," he said in response to those who had called non-Malays as "pendatang" (immigrants).

He said it was not right to deny the rights of some citizens in the country.