KOTA KINABALU, ( April 20 ) — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said people who make provocative and racial statements are merely seeking recognition and will not do so if the public ignores them.
These people often issued such statements over the social media and did not realise that they could destroy the peace and stability the country enjoyed, he said at a media gathering and dinner here last night.
Saying that the matter should be handled wisely, he said the media had a major role in shaping public opinion and should be responsible in ensuring that accurate information reached the public.
Quoting a statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the latter’s blog, Kurup said Najib had said: “If you want to preserve the harmony of this country, don’t let these instigators overpower us! Even better, don’t pass on news of such incidents as it is almost certain to incite fear and hatred.”
Kurup said racial and religious bigotry would never be erased due to human nature but the government and the media could work together to suppress the intolerance and bigotry faced by the people for the continued progress of the country.
“We need to stop insane individuals and groups from exploiting our misunderstandings and past mistakes. We cannot allow them to hijack our unity, our peace and our future,” he said.
Kurup said the media should take heed of a recommendation by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service that the media should continue to play an important role in publishing news and articles that help to strengthen unity.
The media, as partners in unity, should take note of the recommendation to avoid misunderstanding in the society, especially when certain people with vested interests attempted to manipulate statements for their own gain, he said.
He said the media should be cautious when reporting news because published information could trigger controversies and assumptions to the extent of changing the people’s perception of the transparency of the government and nation.
“We can’t sit on our laurels, we need to work harder to maintain and manage our precious national unity because the dynamics of the issues change frequently. What worked in the past is totally irrelevant today. Unless there is an effective government response with great assistance from the media, we would fail and destroy the unity we took years to build,” Kurup said.
He said unity needed to be treasured, protected at all costs, and media assistance was required to strengthen national unity and preserve it for the future generations to inherit.– BERNAMA