KUCHING, Sept 16: State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian is calling on Sarawakians to do away with regionalism and build a sense of unity as Malaysians.
According to Baru in his Malaysia Day message, lately, events and politics have intervened, playing with the sentiments of Sarawakians and Sabahans.
“Where once we were a country of different people living in multicultural harmony, now there are attempts to drive us apart with issues of race and religion that are fanned by politicians and other groups in their quest to divide the communities and garner support,” he said.
Parallel to that, Baru, who is also Works Minister and Selangau MP, said the various groups in Sarawak and Sabah have been taking advantage of the ‘us vs them’ sentiment against the federal government, for their own political purposes.
“As a Sarawakian, I have always been aware and proud of our multicultural harmony, unity in diversity, and inclusivity. This is something that we must strive to maintain and perpetuate especially now in the spirit of the new Malaysia.
“That we are an equal partner in Malaysia is recognised by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, and steps are being taken to accord to Sarawak that which is rightly hers,” he said.
Baru suggested a paradigm shift is necessary in shifting towards a ‘Malaysian First’ mindset, but at the same time it should celebrate Sarawakians’ diverse origins and ethnicities.
He said while Sarawakians must recognise and value their multiculturalism and multiracialism, at the same time they must build a sense of oneness as Malaysians, and only then can Malaysia truly be a strong and united country.
“Crucially, it is important to avoid politicising race and religion. Political and religious leaders must be bold and courageous to speak out against extremists from within and outside of their respective groups who cross the line.
“The Malaysian public, in whom the real power lies, must be wise to reject such instigations by these people,” said Baru.
He said the federal government should also be vigilant and firm in dealing with those who attempt to disrupt the largely harmonious state of Malaysia.
“Malaysia Day is a significant bridge for East and West Malaysia to celebrate the coming together of a growing nation. It has become more significant than ever because our nation needs to close the rural-urban disparity gap as we grow towards the ‘Shared Prosperity’ vision of the Prime Minister. No one should be left behind as we develop and prosper.
“It is my aspiration that Sarawak, and the other lesser-developed states of Malaysia, will be brought up to par in terms of road connectivity and modern highways, where every town, village and rural community will be connected seamlessly. This will naturally promote socio-economic growth and true development for the communities,” said the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.
He added: “As an ‘Anak Sarawak’ and an ‘Anak Malaysia’, today, I call on all to celebrate our diversity, preserve our culture of tolerance and embracing one another, and unite for the economic success of our country.
“Today we celebrate this union of the Federation of Malaysia with Malaysians of all creeds, cultures and colours,” said Baru. — DayakDaily