Annuar speaks to reporters. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: The unity of more than 27 ethnic groups in Sarawak ought to be protected to ensure that the state can develop well.

Education, Science and Technological Research assistant minister Dr Annuar Rapaee said that while the state has multi-ethnic communities practising different religions and cultures, the plurality has never been a problem.

“So, why must we be divided when the only differences are our opinions and political affiliations?” he asked.

“What is important is the solid co-operation among the communities as without it, the state cannot be developed.”

Annuar speaks to reporters. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

He was speaking to reporters during the closing and prize presentation of ‘Silat Keris Naga Kilat’ competition and Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s Trophy at Padang Merdeka here yesterday.

He added that other nations are guilty of having racial conflicts which caused them to be left behind in terms of development.

“Sarawak is very peaceful because we respect each other although at times we try to promote our respective cultures. We have few problems when it comes to working with each other.

“This has to be maintained as a lot of work is required to rebuild broken relationships and lost trust. We must ensure that there are no conflicts among our people,” he said.

Annuar, who is also Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister, was confident that Sarawakians understand the issue more than people outside the state.

“We want them to understand the situation in Sarawak so that whatever our dispute, we can resolve it instead of making it worse or sweeping it under the rug.

“And…the difference should be some common point and not an issue that can separate us,” he said.

On cultural differences, he said each race or ethnic group must preserve their own while at the same time not minimising others.

“That is how it should be, regardless of race or religion. We keep our own heritage for the new generation to understand and comprehend,” he said.

Also present at the function were Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHE) 2019 joint chairperson Abdul Yakup Norshen and other dignitaries.