KUCHING, Jan 13 — The state government will not allow religious and political bigots to enter Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said.
He said their presence will only disturb the prevailing peace and harmony within the state’s multi-religious society.
“That is my answer. We are moderate people,” he said during a recent special interview with the local media held in conjunction with his third anniversary as chief minister which falls today.
He said racial and religious frictions will not happen in Sarawak because interracial marriage is common among the people.
“There will come a time when racial issue will not be there anymore because of hybrid Sarawakians,” he said, referring to the children of interracial marriages.
“If you have noticed, if a mother is a Malay and a father an Iban, so you are restrained from saying something unpleasant about the Malay or the Iban.
“The same goes if your mother is a Chinese and father an Iban, you don’t want to raise racial issues that will hurt the feelings of the Iban or the Chinese.
“If you do, then you are actually attacking your own mother or father,” he explained.
He said the state government’s tolerance towards religion is seen in the formation of the Unit for Other Religion (Unifor), through which financial assistance is channelled to non-Islamic organisations, like for building of churches and temples.
Abang Johari said the state government believes in instilling moral discipline based on religious belief.
“All religions say we must be good. No religion tells us to be bad,” he said.
He added that he believes that religion is the backbone for mutual respect and mutual understanding among Sarawakians.