Umno man slammed for insensitivity towards Sarawakians, NGO calls for apology on Palestine refugee issue

Dr Kennedy Paing

KUCHING, Nov 16: The Dayak National Congress (DNC) has called on Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh to apologise to Works minister Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi and the people of Sarawak for failing to recognise Sarawakians’ sensitivity in the Palestine refugee issue.

DNC publicity chief Dr Kennedy Paing further asserted that Muhamad Akmal and his party should respect the autonomy of Sarawak’s administration.

Muhamad Akmal reportedly demanded that Nanta retract his statement rejecting the idea of accepting Palestinian refugees in Sarawak.

“Interference in the internal affairs of Sarawak undermines the principles of federalism and hampers the efficient governance of our State.

“Sarawak has her own unique set of challenges and priorities, and it is crucial that decisions regarding the administration of the State are made by those who understand the local context and can best serve the interest of the people,” he said in a statement today.

He went on to say that instead of interference, the DNC encourages constructive engagement and collaboration between Petra Jaya and Putrajaya to address common concerns and work towards Malaysia’s collective development.

Kennedy also stated that the DNC strongly urged the State government to listen to the voices of the people who were strongly opposed to allowing Palestinian refugees to enter Sarawak.

“As Sarawak is now aggressively pursuing her State’s rights and regional issues, this is the time for her to demonstrate she meant business, afterall autonomy on immigration is with Sarawak.”

Furthermore, he mentioned that the Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam) has stated that many Palestinians are likely to seek refuge in Malaysia as a result of the conflict in the Middle East, and there have been strong concerns about these Palestinian refugees being sent to Sarawak.

“As the Federal minister and the secretary general of Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS), Nanta’s stand has to be taken seriously albeit some said what he stressed was his personal opinion, but what matters most is the majority of the people, NGOs, and political parties are with him,” he asserted. — DayakDaily