While in Hawaii for the APEC Summit last November, I was given the honour to speak at the prestigious East-West Centre. This opportunity I seized, with much pleasure, by sharing what I believe is an element necessary in managing today’s challenging global landscape. I talked about the Global Movement of Moderates.
In a virtually seamless, borderless world where information travels at the speed of light, countries all over the world are virtually exposed to a variety of internal and external challenges. The world in this 21st century seems to be in a state of permanent flux. Radical changes can take place anytime, unprecedented and unannounced.
Such have been seen in the recent revolutionary wave in the Middle East and parts of North Africa, dubbed as the Arab Spring. We have learnt that the power of the people’s voice is so strong that even decades-old dictators were ousted, to make way for new democracies. These incidents and many others are discerning indications that global leadership must take on a new approach for the sake of safeguarding peace and harmony. I am certain that leaders from all over the world will respond positively to my call for a global moderation movement.
While the events of the Arab Spring brought fresh hope, the voices of certain quarters of the people in the riots that broke out in London and several other parts of the UK brought fear and distress. There was nothing moderate in the purpose or actions perpetuated by groups of destructive citizens as they lashed out on other members of their community just as much as they did against their government.
It must be remembered that in order to succeed, moderation must be equally shouldered and practiced by the people, as well as the leadership. While the voices of the people often can bring about change, it is the moderate behaviour and attitude, formed on the basis of mutual respect and acceptance that ensures that the change is positive and good for the nation.
Considering the landscape of today’s social, political and economic development, it isn’t hard to see that moderation holds the potential to guarantee some level of peace and harmony. Extremism, as we have witnessed, is not an acceptable school of thought and has all the risks of causing lasting damage to a nation. By prioritising the people and by putting them first, the Government is able to keep itself checked and always balanced on the middle ground. To me, this is the right thing to do, as Governments exist to serve the people thus the voice of the people must always be heard when fashioning policies and programmes. And this is exactly the promise I made in the 1Malaysia agenda – People First, Performance Now.
After proposing to the United Nations General Assembly last year to form a global “Movement of the Moderates”, I am pleased to announce that we are well on the way to host Kuala Lumpur inaugural International Conference on the Global Movement of the Moderates in 2012. This historic event will not only be an important milestone for Malaysia, but will also be an important testimony to the world that we are indeed one nation synonymous to unity and harmony. I am also excited of the possibilities of Malaysia being referred to as the benchmarking case study of a nation of the moderates to the rest of the world.
This is an opportunity for us to not only showcase our 1Malaysia spirit to the world but also an chance for us to strengthen our dynamism further as a nation living in peace and unity despite our different background, race, culture and belief. We should be proud of ourselves and let this be a reminder for us to be thankful for being a Malaysian. We should make the very best out of this chance.