Asia cannot afford destruction by terror: Malaysian PM

Emergence of India and China as "economic juggernauts" has changed the way the world viewed Asia and the region cannot afford any disruption or destruction caused by extremism or terror, Malaysian Prime Minister said.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 20:28 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Emergence of India and China
as "economic juggernauts" has changed the way the world viewed
Asia and the region cannot afford any disruption or
destruction caused by extremism or terror, Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Tun Razak said on Thursday.

He urged political parties across Asia to join
Malaysia`s call for a global movement of moderates and reject
the politics of hate and any form of extremism.

He was delivering his keynote address at the 6th
General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian
Political Parties (ICAPP) in Pnom Penh.

"Forces of globalisation and the emergence of India
and China as economic juggernauts had changed the way the
world viewed Asia and how Asia viewed itself," the Malaysian
Prime Minister said.

He said as members of the Asian family, all countries
had a vested interest in ensuring that this region remained
free and safe from ideologies espousing conflict, destruction,
disunity and hostility in the name of their unholy cause.

Recalling his message at the United Nations General
Assembly in September last, Najib said he had called for a
global movement of the moderates to reclaim the centre and the
moral high-ground that had been usurped from them.

He had called for moderates to marginalise the
extremists and terrorists who had held the world hostage with
their bigotry and bias.

Najib said nowhere was this more important than in
Asia, where in some places cells of extremist groups continued
to exist to spread their message of hate.

He said the proponents of extremism would always
attempt to draw lines in the sand, dividing one side against
the other, creating the spectre of a nemesis when in fact
there was none.

"I have said repeatedly that the real issue is not
between Muslims and non-Muslims, but rather between extremists
and moderates of all faiths be it Islam, Christianity,
Judaism, Hinduism or any other faith," he said.

Asia could not allow extremists and terrorists to
hijack societal discourse and determine the direction of their
respective national conversations as reason and common sense
must prevail.

The moderates, he said, must always be the only
dominant voice, whereas cooperation and negotiation must
always be the preferred path over that of enmity and
confrontation.

"Whatever their causes may be, political parties must
refrain from taking the extreme path. There are always
peaceful means of conflict resolution, and no short-term
political gains are worth sacrificing national and, indeed,
regional peace and harmony," he said.

Najib said that ultimately what were important were the
well-being of their people and the preservation of their
values, culture and way of life.

He said extremists preyed on the fearful and the
seemingly threatened and if the moderates made it clear that
there was no cause for fear and no looming threat, then
extremists became irrelevant.

He called for linkages and networks in furthering the
ideals of moderation.

Apart from bilateral and multi-lateral government
ties, Najib said, informal networks such as this forum would
be essential in conveying the right message to specific
audiences.

More than 300 senior leaders of 317 Asian political
parties, comprising governing, opposition and independent
parties, from 51 countries participated in the ICAPP meeting.

PTI