KUCHING: During her visit to Sarawak recently, National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique was all praise for the state’s Unit For Other Religions (Unifor).
During a courtesy call on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the minister in charge of Unifor, at his office, she said, “We’ve learnt and are continuing to learn a lot from Sarawak in terms of promoting and strengthening racial and religious tolerance, unity and harmony”.
Halimah added that her ministry wanted to adopt and adapt the concept of Unifor into its Community Harmony Committee.
In today’s interview, as pointed out by Halimah, many respondents think Sarawak can indeed show Malaysia the way to racial and religious tolerance, unity and harmony.
‘Sarawak can help improve racial unity in Malaya by producing documentaries on how people of various races and ethnic groups live in peace and harmony in the state. It can host student exchange programmes among private and public universities. After staying in certain parts of Sarawak, the students from Malaya can share their experiences with friends and families. Sarawak can also host events like seminars, sport events and conferences and let the Malayans experience racial and religious tolerance, unity and harmony.’ − AMIRAH SYAKIRAH AZHARI KAMAL (Student)
‘Sarawak can let the Malayans experience racial and religious tolerance, unity and harmony by showing them the way we live. We stand together as Sarawakians without looking at our racial differences. Most Sarawakians can speak multiple languages from interacting with different races early in their lives. We participate in different racial activities just to get a better understanding of each other. One great example is a band called Meruked, which consists of different races creating amazing music together as one.’ − MARK AGAN (Trainer)
‘One way we can help promote and strengthen racial harmony in Malaya is by producing more documentaries on Sarawak culture for national TV stations. Besides that, the ‘Lan Berambeh’ programme should be open to Malayan students and not only Sarawakian students studying in Malaya. That is one way we can let them experience Sarawak culture. We should also promote Sarawak unity in textbooks for schools. If we do that, Malayans will learn how to tolerate and respect one another despite different cultures and beliefs.’ − THEPETHA EPHIS ROMEO (Secretary)
‘Education is the only way to influence the Malayans. If we send more of our people to study there, then maybe we can show them our culture so they will learn to unite and live in peace and harmony like us. Programmes like ‘Lan Berambeh’ should be open to all Malaysians. If we allow Malayans to join our programmes, perhaps they can pick up a few good things from our culture, like the way we interact and respect one another.’ − LUKE LANGGI JOHN (Admin Assistant)
‘In my opinion, Sarawakians have embraced the concept of respecting one another. For example, we respect each other’s beliefs by learning about them and not segregating ourselves based on the colour of our skin. I believe that if the Malayans have mutual respect and understanding for one another, there will be national unity.’ − MICHAEL SOO (Pensioner)