Peninsula must learn from Sabah, Sarawak

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Map: rjgeib.com

What Peninsular Malaysians miserably fail to realise is that they have succumbed to the poison of politicians after six decades of of race-based and theocratic politics, write JD Lovernciear.

The Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, has hammered in a vital ‘sensitive’ nail home. Its time Malaysians, especially our politicians, took stock of reality.

In highlighting the drummed up issues over the Octoberfest carnival, the minister expressed the whole truth about how accepting and right-minded Sabah and Sarawak are towards building a true Malaysia.

But Peninsular Malaysia – seemingly the ‘big brother’ that it is made out to be – continues to be mired in racial divisiveness and religious discrimination. Often, some quarter or other will not miss any chance to drum up racial or religious sensitivities and slam our political opponents. Often, social, political or even economic issues are exploited to the most ridiculous extreme using arguments of race, rulers and religion to spike up support.

But Sabah and Sarawak have no such ill conceived agendas at work. Indeed these two states should talk more about their progressive, harmonious and unifying efforts in building a truly multicultural, multiracial society and multi-religious society with broad-based acceptance.

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Indeed when you contrast Peninsular Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak, mainland politicians are left in pale with their destructive psywars. Many Peninsular Malaysians may not even have visited Sabah and Sarawak. Indeed too many Peninsular Malaysians still rate the North Borneo eastern states as undeveloped.

But what Peninsular Malaysians miserably fail to realise is the fact that they have succumbed to the poison of politicians given the six decades of of race-based and theocratic politics drummed up by political party leaders. Even with the new Malaysia in the making since the 2018 general election, we continue to witness diabolic, divisive strategies of political warfare.

When will we ever learn from Sabah and Sarawak?

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What is also worth noting is how west Malaysians have been trying to subtly insist that their standard of doing things must be followed, thus, creating this latent dislike from the local people. For example, here comes one religious teacher from west Malaysia and starts telling children who are living in a multi-religious setting, not to do this, not to do that. Children share this new “standards” to their parents who have been very open when it comes to interacting with others regardless of religion. Thus, creating this latent dislike.