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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Jan 23: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes local politicians should rise above race and religion.
He agreed with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s stance that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) should rise above race and religion and chose the best leaders to win the next state election.
“I fully agree that politicians in Sarawak should see themselves as above race and religion. Any politician who wishes to lead Sarawak must be a leader for all Sarawakians and not just be a leader for the Dayak, Malay or Chinese or a leader for just the Christians, Muslims or Buddhists,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily today.
He said this has been the political culture of Sarawak ever since the reign of the White Rajahs, where they showed true acceptance and understanding of others who are of different cultures and ethnicity and where parties prioritising race and religion had no place in the state.
“Sarawak is blessed as, since the days of the White Rajahs, we have seen a high level of tolerance and understanding among its leaders.
“Political parties that have sprouted along the way since independence but who only fought for a specific racial or religious cause are all rejected by Sarawakians.
“This is the political culture that all Sarawakians have put their beliefs in and will be in future elections,” said Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports.
Masing had expressed his view that GPS, comprising PBB, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), must choose the best leaders in order to win the next state election.
“GPS must do away with the Barisan Nasional (BN) mentality and all of us from the four component parties must sit down as a family and decide what is there for us.
“Let us pick the best leader to lead Sarawak. If you are the best leader for Sarawak, then let it be, regardless of who you are. And let’s not look at race and religion,” said Masing, who is PRS president. — DayakDaily