Differing opinions should be welcomed, respected for mature democracy

KUANTAN: Differences in opinion, debates, exchanges of views and criticism, either in the mainstream media or social media, should be welcomed and respected to allow democracy to mature, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

“To me, we should allow a healthy exchange of thoughts and opinions, whether we support it or not… and both parties should accept (that view). We are always open to criticism and clashes of ideas will result in fresher and better (ideas).

“The only things that should be avoided are insulting words and rude things, that in my opinion, are not beneficial,” he said at a press conference after launching the Pahang Entrepreneur Workshop: Digital Empowerment Programme today.

He said the development of social media has given birth to a digital community that is free to use various online platforms to express its views.

However, the views must be expressed in a respectful manner, based on facts and data, and if talking about politics, they must be based on the Constitution, Rukun Negara and so on.

The one-day workshop, held online, was organised by MyNIC Berhad, and attended by its chairman, Dr Mohamed Awang Lah, and chief executive officer, Datuk Hasnul Fadhly Hasan.

Saifuddin, who is also the Pahang Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leadership body chief, said the government was also open to criticism, which depended on ‘the way the individuals see, evaluate and act’, and from that criticism, there were views that could be accepted, as well as some that needed to be explained further.

“This is not a matter of defending the existing government, but a matter of stability, which coincidentally today, the existing government is a Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, which to me, deserves to be given the opportunity to continue to govern the country at this time.

“Malaysia needs stability, including political stability. If there is instability, this will disrupt the ongoing efforts to control and address the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as continue to survive economically,” he said.

Saifuddin said although there was criticism against the government, no action was taken against them under the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No.2) Ordinance 2021, as the provision was used ‘very carefully to curb fake news’ in dealing with the pandemic.  – Bernama