Sarawak BN leaders yesterday spoke out against labelling Malaysians 'pendatang' (immigrant), urging Umno to follow Gerakan’s lead in taking action against members who do the same.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak chief James Masing said the move showed Gerakan "walked the talk".
"Gerakan walks the talk and big parties within Barisan Nasional such as Umno must also do the same thing," Masing told The Borneo Post yesterday.
He was commenting on the suspension of Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon for saying Malays are "also 'pendatang'" at the Gerakan annual general assembly (AGM) on Sunday.
Masing (left) echoes Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng who urged all BN parties to follow Gerakan’s lead in censuring members who make “racist” and "extremist" remarks at AGMs.
While Liang was speaking in general terms, the only major BN party which has yet to have its AGM this year is Umno.
Masing’s urging also comes as Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem told the Chinese community that it is wrong for anyone to call them pendatang.
"I wish to convey to the Chinese community that you’ve been here for hundreds of years, for four to five generations.
"So don’t call the Chinese 'pendatang'. It is not good," he was quoted by Bernama as saying in a speech in Kuching yesterday.
"You’re Malaysians, 'anak Sarawak'. Maybe during your great grandparents’ time, yes, but not now after four or five generations.
"You’re Chinese, sometimes you go to China to visit your relatives but after than you will come back to Sarawak," he was quoted as saying.
Adenan’s speech won him praise from political opponent Sarawak PKR vice-president See Chee How.
According to See, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyperson, Adenan’s speech is a message to Putrajaya to tackle the 'pendatang' issue.
"He (Adenan) has certainly shown the courage that the prime minister of Malaysia obviously lacks," he told Malaysiakini.
'Don't discrminate against your own'
Welcoming the chief minister’s statement, See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyperson, said that good leader should not condone discrimination against his or her own people.
"Instead he or she should look beyond race, take care of everybody’s needs and inspires all to work towards a greater nation and ensure fair distribution of wealth thus generated.
"The capability of the state administration to sustain and advance a peaceful and harmonious society in Sarawak should be emulated by the Malaysian federal administration," See said.
See (left) said the CM’s speech is a first good step to discern himself from the racist politics practiced by the Umno-led BN administration, which has caused disunity and waste of resources.
He also commended Adenan for the state’s contribution of RM3 million to 14 independent Chinese secondary schools there.
However, he also urged the state to allocate grants for religious schools, national-type Chinese primary schools, mission schools as well as rural schools for the teaching of indigenous languages.
"Indeed, what Malaysia as a plural society needs is an education system that upholds the national language, ensures the equal rights and development of mother-tongue languages and improves the command of English."