SIBU, Sept 11 — The practice of mutual respect and tolerance among the multi-racial and multi-religious people in the state has created lasting peace and stability in Sarawak, according to Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
In fact, he said the harmonious relations among the people from different tribes and religions in the state had always been the exemplary model to other states.
“In Sarawak, the people respect each other regardless of their race and religion. Racial harmony is always preserved.
“The Muslims, despite being the minority group in the state, have shown that they are more than capable of respecting other religions which might have existed earlier,” he said when gracing the state-level Maal Hijrah 1440H celebration at the Islamic Complex here today.
In conjunction with the Maal Hijrah celebration, Taib also called on all Muslims to send the message that Malaysia is an Islamic country which respects and allows other religions to be practised freely.
“There was a time during a visit to a longhouse when I was the chief minister, a non-Muslim Iban community went to the extent of buying and preparing me a prayer mat so that I can perform my prayer at their longhouse.
“That kind of religious tolerance is unique and you cannot find it anywhere else in the world,” he added.
Meanwhile, 83-year-old Tan Sri Bujang Mohd Nor, who has been appointed as acting Governor of Sarawak four times, was conferred the state’s Tokoh Khas Maal Hijrah 1440H Award during the celebration today.
With the award, Bujang, who is now the executive chairman of Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd, also received cash of RM30,000, a plaque and certificate, which were presented by Taib to his son, Insanniah Azman.
Other recipients of the state’s Maal Hijrah Award this year are as follows:
Sarawak Baitulmal Fund general manager Datuk Abang Mohd Shibli Abang Mohd Nailie (Islamic Agency/Organisation Leadership Award)
Professional Technologist Syahrul Nizam Junaini (Research & Development Achievement Award)
Former Syarie Chief Judge from Sarawak Judiciary Department Datu Mohamed Ali A. Mohd Sheriff and his wife, Datin Farida Mokhtar Khan (Excellent Family Award)
Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Mayor Datuk Abdul Wahab Abang Julai (Exemplary Muslim Public Officer Award)
Kuching South City Council (DBKS) Mayor Datuk James Chan Khay Syn (Exemplary Non-Muslim Public Officer Award)
At-Taqwa Mosque in Kampung Pinang Jawa, Kuching (Best Mosque Management and Administration Award)
Surau Darul Firdaus in Jalan Appollo Sibu (Best Surau Management and Administration Award)
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Miri (Excellent Religious Secondary School Award)
Sekolah Kebangsaan Datuk Abdul Kadir Hassan, Kuching, (Excellent Religious Primary School Award)
Former student of SMK St. Thomas, Kuching, Abdul Ilyasa’ Azman (Excellent Student Award (STPM))
Former student of Sekolah Menengah Agama Tun Ahmad Zaidi, Kuching, Muhamad Hafizuldin Mahmood (Excellent Student Award (SPM)). — Bernama