Chinese ‘pendatang’: how East Malaysia looks at the issue


Salleh Said Keruak

In his Chinese New Year message today, the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, said a most sensible thing regarding the Chinese ‘pendatang’ rhetoric that is straining race relations in Malaysia.

He also thanked the Chinese for their contribution to the state and added that the community should rightfully regard Malaysia as their home. “You call Sarawak your home, and indeed this is your home, just like for those from many other races,” said Tan Sri Satem.

What Tan Sri Satem said would apply to Sabah as well. And we from Sabah have said the same thing many times in the past: that Chinese are as Malaysian as any other race or ethnicity.

It is probably time to put this matter to rest and no longer argue about who is more Malaysian and who came to this country first. Instead, we should discuss how to face the challenges ahead of us, especially the economic challenges and the bigger worry of terrorism that, according to the IGP, threatens to land on our own doorstep.

We have Malaysian Chinese who are descendants of those who came to this country more than 500 years ago and Bumiputeras whose ancestors came here only about 100 years ago or less.