Avoid provocative talk on 3Rs, experts tell leaders, public

(Bernama) – Leaders and members of the public need to be careful and not make any provocative statements involving the rulers, race and religion (3R), as it is feared that it could lead to sedition, said experts.

Professor at the Government and Civilisation Studies Department, Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Prof Zaid Ahmad said that the unethical act was also capable of inciting hatred among the multireligious and multiethnic community.

“The 3Rs are the pillars that we have agreed upon as being the foundation of building the nation and it is important to preserve them because they have become the strength of a plural society.

“However, these 3Rs can actually be a unifying factor as well as a divisive factor because if any of these elements are misused to gain support, for example, it can create tension in the community, thus undermining harmony,” he said.

Zaid said if not controlled, this approach would only plant stereotypes in the minds of the younger generation against the rulers or a particular race or religion, and it could easily cause friction.

Therefore, he reminded leaders, especially politicians, to be vigilant, and not to use sensitive words or place labels on any race or religion because the country would have to pay a heavy price if harmony was disrupted.

Meanwhile, a political analyst from the Perdana Centre of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Mazlan Ali, opined that social media was often used as a platform to spread various provocative statements regarding the 3Rs.

He said the borderless nature of cyberspace made people feel free to express their views and express their dissatisfaction on any issue, often without caring about the principles of decency and morality.

“Basically, the respect between people in this country has improved compared to the time when the country experienced the deadly riots of May 13, 1969, but social media has become the easiest platform for individuals to spread slander for personal gain, including political purposes.

“If it’s just criticising the behaviour of an individual, it may be understandable but if it’s about condemning religion and playing up racial issues to get votes, for example, it’s very dangerous, and action needs to be taken because if it’s not contained, it can become a cancer to the country,” he said.

Mazlan called on the Home Affairs Ministry and the authorities such as the Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to take firm action against those who issued defamatory statements and threatened the harmony of the country.

He also suggested that more academic discourses and religious dialogues be held to inculcate harmony in the country’s diverse society, thus giving a better understanding of religious differences.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also previously encouraged more knowledge programmes and ‘tazkirah’ (talks) to be held to provide information to the people, and if any non-governmental organisation implements programmes like this, the government should support it,” he said.