Thursday, February 26, 2009

SUPP pledges to help Barisan in polls

The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) is ready to help Barisan Nasional retain the Batang Ai state seat, which fell vacant following the death of its assemblyman, Datuk Dublin Unting, on Tuesday.
A by-election will have to be called as the Sarawak State Assembly still has more than two years of its term to run.
SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is Deputy Chief Minister, said the party would do its best to assist the state Barisan election machinery.
“Wherever we can, we will definitely help,” he told reporters after receiving a RM20,000 donation from the Sarawak Association of Ministers’ and Assistant Ministers’ Wives (Sabati) for flood victims at his office here yesterday.
With the Opposition expected to focus on the issue of native customary rights (NCR) land in the predominantly Iban constituency, Dr Chan said the state government would have to make clear to the people its policy on developing NCR land.
“This has always been an issue. As the government, we should explain why certain things can be done (with NCR land) and why certain things cannot be done,” he said.
He said land was usually an emotional issue and hoped that the people would be objective and rational in approaching it.
“I hope no one will try to stir up emotions and make people unhappy,” he added.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spirit of Unity...

Having 28 years living in this country, I must admit that we are fortunate that the country’s unity remains peacefully with religious tolerance, mutual understanding and respect among the various races.

We may have succeeded in effectively managing racial rifts over the decades but there is a dire need for long-term solutions to ensure real harmony.

One obvious obstacle towards this is our ineptitude to hold frank and open dialogues over religious issues without getting all riled up.

As such, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s final mission as Prime Minister before leaving office – to ease racial and religious tensions – should indeed be lauded and supported.

It is never too late for political players and policy makers to realise that the future of Malay­sia hinges on its continued religious and inter-racial harmony.

As the PM said at the Chris­tian Federation of Malaysia’s Christ­mas open housebefore, our children must be raised without any sense of prejudice.

Differences in religion should not be a hindrance to developing and maintaining friendships.

The sad reality is that a large segment of Malaysians, especially among the young, can only mingle within the comfort of their own race groups. They do not show any interest in or concern for other communities.

It is obvious that inexpedient educational policies and failures in promoting multi-racial interactions have contributed to the regretful situation.

But the mess can still be untangled to free the original spirit of unity.

The country, after all, was born and nurtured on such a foundation.

We have proven in the past that the core values inherent in our faiths, cultures and customs are enough to unite us as Malay­sians.

The coming new year offers hope for renewed focus on unity based on respect for multi-ethnicity and religious tolerance.