After nearly 60 years of independence, we expect Malaysians to be tolerant and accept the differences of race, religion and culture. Unfortunately, the incident of protest over a Christian cross in Taman Medan shows that religious bigotry and extremism is still thriving, even among the more educated and the so-called well-connected personality.
It is prevalent to hear people championing in the name of protecting their own religion but at the same time infringes the freedom and rights of others. What is worrying for all Malaysians is that such incidents are getting more frequent. It is common to blame our education system, our politicians and the government of the day for the ills that besets Malaysia. The reality of it is that we even find religious and racial extremists among the more educated Malaysians.
The racial and religious harmony that we enjoy now is fragile. All we need is a small spark before it flares out. However, a lot of Malaysians are behaving like the proverbial ostrich burying its head in the deep sand hoping that the wind will blow away our problem.
The silent majority must now wake up to face reality. They must let their voices be heard and their numbers to be counted. The silent majority rejects racial and religious extremism. Everyone regardless of race or religion should has a stake in this country.
If my religious conviction can be threatened by the sight or symbol of another religion, that something is very wrong with my religious conviction. It is obvious that my religious conviction is not grounded on knowledge and understanding but more on the emotion that is placed to the gallery.
The time has come that firm action should be taken against the protesters in Taman Medan. Failure to do so will empower the religion extremists to continue their religious crusade that will hijack the peace, harmony and prosperity that we enjoy.
We have to accept that Malaysia is a multi-religious, multiracial and multicultural country. We not only tolerate, but have to accept the unique differences that exists between fellow Malaysians. The sooner we come to term with these realities, then only peace, prosperity and high income economy will not be an elusive goal.