KUCHING, July 26: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang has slammed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for sowing and spreading divisive ideas using race and religion among the people in his public remarks.
As a leader of a multicultural country, Lo said that the most important task was to unite all the people, be them Malay, Chinese, Indians, Ibans or Dayaks.
“In encourage the joustling leaders to fight for their race and religion, the Prime Minister is driving another wedge between people of different races and religions in multicultural Malaysia,” he criticised in a press release issued yesterday.
He was commenting on the Dr Mahathir’s statement stressing that only political parties which truly struggle for race, religion and country will become the people’s choice, as evident from the country’s history and past election results.
Dr Mahathir, who is the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman said this in his opening speech at the Bersatu extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Serdang last week.
He reminded party leaders and members to set aside their own interests and remain steadfast in fighting for race, religion and country if they wanted to continue to be leaders of the people’s choice.
“Championing one race alone is toxic to our country’s well-being as we spend our energy being suspicious of one another instead of standing together to build this country up. We are all Malaysians even though we are of different races and religions,” Lo added.
He also reminded the Prime Minister that Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the election with votes from not only Malays but also the Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Ibans and many other minority groups.
“So, now that the battle has been fought and won, are the people of the minority races being conveniently chucked aside?” he questioned.
“He should set good examples by being respectful to all the people in the country regardless of their race and religion. He should promote understanding, tolerance and acceptance of race, religion and culture; and not just look after the interests of one race and one religion,” he said.
Recalling that Dr Mahathir had highlighted at the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York that the new Malaysia was rid of race bigotry to the leaders of the world, Lo observed that at home in Malaysia, the mutual respect for mutual gain he should show for all races and religion in this country had been overshadowed by the championing of one race and one religion.
He expressed pride that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was dignified enough not to speak ill of other religions and instead, encouraged the people of Sarawak to unite as one regardless of race and religion.
“We, here in Sarawak, have good examples in our leaders to follow. We should not let race and religion divide us. We should find peace, harmony and strength in diversity,” he emphasised.
“We have a kind, peace loving and magnanimous leader in our Chief Minister and we are proud to have him lead us. He leads with wisdom and works hard every day to bring all races together for the betterment of all Sarawakians,” he added.
He pointed out that Abang Johari is continuing with the legacy of late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem in helping all races in Sarawak.
“He shows by example the importance of tolerance, acceptance and values among all races and he is working very hard in very challenging circumstances to get back what belongs to us under MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963),” he said.
“Sarawakians are not blind, naive or ignorant. We are a well informed and educated lot with just a titch too high a tolerance threshold level. We need to continue to fight hard to get back our rights,” he added. — DayakDaily