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KUCHING, Dec 24: Despite their religious and racial diversity, the people of Sarawak have been able to live together in unity and harmony much better than those in many other states because Sarawakians do not create walls between themselves.
Sarawakians believe that “your religion is your religion, and my religion is my religion”, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“The beauty of it for us in Sarawak is that people of other religions also share in the joy and festivities as this has been our practice all the while. Sarawakians are like brothers and sisters who have much respect for one another’s culture and religion.
“That’s the way it has been for us in Sarawak for the last hundred years, and that’s the way it should be in the future,” he said in his Christmas and New Year’s greetings message today.
Abang Johari said the state government’s commitment to foster religious unity and understanding was not merely in words but also in deeds, where the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) was assisting non-Muslim Sarawakians to build or carry out repairs to their houses of worship.
He said this year alone, RM20 million was allocated to Unifor, and he believed many had benefited from this initiative that might not be found in other parts of the country.
Abang Johari said the approved allocation for next year is RM30 million. He assured that the state government would continue to provide the funds so that many more could benefit from it in the future.
“I do hope, in the spirit of Christmas, that our Christian friends will continue to pray that the people of Sarawak will have the strength and courage to be people who are free to decide their own destiny and not to be too dependent on the assistance of others.
“Being a part of Malaysia does not mean we cannot chart our own future according to the hopes and aspiration of all Sarawakians.
“There are countries, like Canada, where there are autonomous areas that are able to prosper within the context of a larger nation,” he said.
Abang Johari also urged Sarawakians to defend Sarawak so that it would continue to be administered by Sarawakians.
“Sarawakians themselves have proven that they can administer the state well with forward-looking policies, consistencies and not just for selfish political gains.
“Therefore, I hope that Sarawak would continue to be administered and be led by Sarawakians and not by or being a puppet of others when they make decisions for the benefit of Sarawakians,” he said. — DayakDaily