Sabah speaker: Focus on challenges as a nation


(The Star) – Malaysians should focus on facing future challenges as a nation instead of arguing about which race has more rights in the country, Sabah state assembly speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said.

Quoting Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s Chinese New Year message, Salleh wrote in a blog post on Thursday that the chief minister was right about the Chinese “pendatang” (immigrants) rhetoric which is straining racial relations in the country.

“He also thanked the Chinese for their contribution to the state and added that the community should rightfully regard Malaysia as their home.

“The minister also said ‘You call Sarawak your home, and indeed this is your home, just like for those from many other races’, which I believe would apply to Sabah as well,” said Salleh.

He added that Sabahans have always said the same thing, which is that Chinese are as Malaysian as any other race or ethnicity and that it is time to put the matter to rest and quit arguing about which race came to Malaysia first.

“Instead, we should discuss how to face the challenges ahead of us, especially the economic challenges and the worry of terrorism which, according to the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, 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 Bumiputra whose ancestors came here only about 100 years ago or less,” he said.

Salleh went on to question how one measure who has more rights in the country.

“If the date your ancestors came here is used as a yardstick to determine who is more Malaysian? The yardstick to use is: once Malaya gained independence in 1957, or once Malaysia was formed in 1963.

“Therefore, whoever were already in Malaysia at that time, especially those who were born in Malaysia, are equally Malaysian,” he said.