Extremism has no place in Sarawak because its people always respect the religious beliefs of their friends, although they may not believe in the teachings of their friends’ religions, said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
Adenan said Sarawak was indeed very fortunate, for despite the differences in belief and racial background, the people live happily in harmony and unity.
He said that although religious and racial issues seemed rampant in other parts of the country of late, it did not have any affect or create any problem in Sarawak, and it never would, infact, he acknowledged that in some parts of Sarawak, the Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths lived under one roof.
“This exemplary quality of Sarawakians is the pride of all of us. As a Chief Minister, it is my duty to ensure that Sarawakians can continue to live in peace and harmony and enjoy the religious freedom we have,” he said in his special Christmas and New Year message, here today.
“The prevailing racial and religious harmony in Sarawak cannot come by chance. All of us have to put in our effort in earnest to ensure that extreme views and actions with regard to religion and race do not pervade our society,” he added.
Adenan, who replaced Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud as Sarawak Chief Minister at the end of February, then urged all Sarawakians to continue visiting their friends, irrespective of their race, during this Christmas.
Referring to economic aspects, he reiterated the state’s commitment to focus on development of rural areas under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said based on this commitment, the state government had allocated more than 50 per cent of the total development allocation of RM4.55 billion in the state budget next year, to implement programmes and projects in rural areas.
Adenan said the government hoped that efforts to focus on the development of these rural areas would reduce the economic disparity between the urban and rural areas.
“Without the support of the government’s administrative machinery and the public, I would not be able to govern Sarawak well. I need the support from all to ensure that Sarawak can be governed well,” he added.