KUALA LUMPUR, 28th October, 2015 (WAM) — Policies of moderation, tolerance and understanding are key to fighting against terrorism especially in a multi-racial society like Malaysia, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The prime minister said Malaysia and ASEAN partners were also believed that resolving the menace of terrorism calls for a comprehensive and long-term strategy.

“Military action alone is inadequate without adressing the root causes and adopting a multi-pronged approach,” he said in his keynote address entitled ‘Confronting Global Terrorism: The Role of ASEAN’, at the United Nations Association Malaysia (UNAM) dinner, here Tuesday night.

The prime minister said for centuries, South East Asia has been enriched by the assimilation and integration of different peoples and traditions, with a culture that has welcomed and benefitted from diversity.

“We in Malaysia and ASEAN must strive to maintain this way of life and reject extremism,” he said as quoted by Malaysian National News Agency, Bernama.

Najib also believed that Malaysia and other ASEAN countries were well organised to deal with such threats.

He said preventive measures, vigilence, public awareness and de-radicalisation campaigns, together with effective rehabilitation programmes were all necessary to combat the threat of violent extremism and terrorism.

He said education also played a vital role so that the younger generations grew up being taught the true essence of Islam and other religions, which all advocated peace and justice.

“Instead, democracy with good governance, social justice and an inclusive approach to economic and social development is the best way forward,” he added.

The prime minister said similar approaches were also required in mosques, churches and other places of worship, to make it absolutely clear that there could be no space for extremism and bigotry in the society.

Meanwhile Najib said, his initiative on the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) was relevant today as it was when it was first announced five years ago.

“It has been well received internationally and in April this year, ASEAN endorsed the Langkawi Declaration on the GMM, with member countries agreeing to organise outreach programmes and inter-faith and cross-cultural dialogues at international, regional and national levels,” he said.

Najib said they agreed to promote education as a means of instilling respect for life, diversity and the values of moderation, tolerance, non-violence and mutual understanding.

“This will continue to be a cornerstone of our fight against terrorism and IS,” he said.

He also said the Prevention of Terrorist Act passed in parliament early this year was necessary to combat the threats in Malaysia.