MIRI, Nov 15 — Sarawak is not in a position to accept any refugees, regardless of their origin, as the state government has many pressing challenges that requires urgent attention, says Datuk Sebastian Ting.

The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) secretary-general said these include raising the living standard of the people and addressing rural poverty.

“Any refusal to take in Palestinian refugees is not due to a lack of compassion and empathy, rather, the state needs to consider many circumstances especially local sentiments.

“SUPP believes in building our own state for our own Sarawak people first,” the Piasau assemblyman said in a statement.

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He was commenting in support of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary-general and Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi who on Monday said that Sarawak should not accept refugees from countries that are noted for violence and torn by anger and hatred.

Adding on, Ting said with Sarawak blessed with racial harmony and peace, an influx of refugees could see a clash of ideologies, values, culture and way of life in the state.

“The turmoil in some parts of the world should serve as a constant reminder to Sarawakians of the importance of protecting the existing peace, harmony and stability,” he said. — Borneo Post Online

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