KUCHING, Jan 28 — PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin today said there is high racial and religious tolerance in Sarawak because political parties in the state refrain from using race and religion to attract influence and support.
“The segregation based on race and religion is not so obvious in Sarawak. People are able to grow up and develop together.
“So this is something that is a plus point in Sarawak, a model which we are talking about,” she told a press conference at the PKR’s Batu Lintang State Assemblyman See Chee How’s Chinese New Year open house here.
Zuraida said in Peninsular Malaysia, race and religion are being used by political parties to attract support among people.
“But in sarawak, you don’t have such parties which use race or religion. So Sarawak is more fortunate and has high tolerance,” she said.
Works Minister and state PKR chief Baru Bian, who was also at the same press conference, stressed that there are many factors why there is racial and religious harmony in Sarawak.
He said it is not just due to the past policies of the government, but the roles played by community leaders and the tradition of one community respecting the other community.
“When we talk about this, everyone has a role to play. Not only government policies, but more importantly, I think, the religious institutions, the village heads and even schools, for example, have a role to play.
“So we must work together, not just only for one sector,” he added.
Baru said Sarawak, when compared to other states in Malaysia, has the most varied racial groups, consisting of 26 main ethnic groups and about 56 sub-ethnic groups,
“For that reason, I think, we have come to accept one another, for instance,” he said.