OVER the weekend I attended a pre-Christmas service in the village.
It was wonderful for those present to be able to sing Christmas carols in their mother tongue, without any worry that they would be condemned for the use of the word ‘Allah’.
The weekend was also when around 8,000 Kuching Christians walked a 4km-route around the city joyfully singing Christmas carols and openly wishing everyone along the way a Merry Christmas.
This is all very NORMAL in our great State of Sarawak.
It seems completely foreign to us that in some other places, wishing others a Merry Christmas is ‘wrong’ and the use of the word ‘Allah’ in worship, which has been done for generations even before the formation of Malaysia, is off limits.
As such it is too easy to take what we have in our great State for granted.
We need to remember that we have this religious freedom because our Sarawakian leaders have always done things the Sarawakian way.
The Sarawakian way means that our family members may have different religious backgrounds, but it does not mean we cannot live together with great respect and love.
I am a Christian but I have relatives who are Muslim and Buddhist. We still manage to eat and celebrate different occasions together.
My story is not unusual. I am just a Sarawakian.
As a Sarawakian, I will do all I can to defend my Sarawakian way of life. One of those ways is to keep parties that originate from across the South China Sea away because despite all they say, they will NEVER understand my values as a Sarawakian.
Despite all their claims, parties which are run from Malaya have continued to show they do NOT respect us Sarawakians. The major decisions are always made elsewhere.
Despite claims that the State Barisan Nasional (BN) is also ‘run’ from Malaya, let’s get this straight – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) are ALL headquartered in Sarawak.
Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) and the United People’s Party (UPP) are also Sarawakian parties.
The Sarawak National Party (SNAP), Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Baru and the Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) were also born in our great State.
Just as Kuching had its Christmas Parade on Saturday, an even grander parade happened in Miri.
Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem actually launched the Christmas Parade there, which involved 40,000 participants (hey Kuching, we really need to catch up!).
He also promised to find land for the Association of Churches in Sarawak Miri to build a centre of its own.
“As far as religion is concerned, the people here are free to exercise their own choice of religion. Similarly, when Muslims are granted land to build a mosque here, the Christians too should enjoy the privilege,” he announced.
Our Chief Minister has made it clear where he stands when it comes to religious freedom in our great State.
We know that the next State election is just around the corner. Let’s make sure we continue to defend our Sarawakian way of life.
The story from The Borneo Post:
Adenan: I will fulfil all my promises
By Cindy Lai
MIRI: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem wants his people to bear witness to the promises he has made, as he shall fulfil all of them for the well-being of Sarawakians.
One of them, he said, is an appeal from Association of Churches Sarawak for a land of their own here, to which he will instruct Land and Survey Department to identify a suitable site.
“As far as religion is concerned, the people here are free to exercise their own choice of religion. Similarly, when Muslims are granted land to build a mosque here, the Christians too should enjoy the privilege,” he said to a crowd of 40,000 people before launching the 8th Miri Christmas Parade last Saturday.
Adenan assured the people that the request shall be fulfilled in six months’ time, and they are free to check on it when the time comes, adding they can choose not to vote for him (in the coming election) if he fails.
Other promises Adenan has fulfilled include waiving off tolls for several bridges in the state, lower electricity tariff and reducing ferry charges to only RM1, which he said were mainly to combat inflation and for the betterment of the people.
“West Malaysia is now all quarrelling over the rising toll fees, which is quite contrary to what has been cited in the federal government’s policy. But here, we don’t have to worry about it, as there isn’t any.”
He added: “However, the only promise I have yet to fulfil is to claim the 20 per cent oil royalty and I have to admit that I have not succeeded yet. But bear in mind that the oil belongs to
Sarawak, it is our right to make the claim. I strongly believe that with determination and persistence, I shall succeed.”
Criticising several federal government policies as unacceptable, Adenan described its decision not to recognise Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) as “stupid”.
“It is fairly stupid to have a policy that does not recognise UEC and the consequence of this is you’ll keep losing potential talents. In fact, there are many Bumiputeras who go to Chinese schools.
“My main concern is Sarawak and I don’t care what the minister in West Malaysia thinks because I know Sarawak and they don’t. They may not be happy, but it is their problem to think otherwise.”
Similarly, in defending English language as a medium of instruction in schools, Adenan assured he would find a proper solution to this, either by setting up schools or in any other way deemed practical and beneficial to Sarawakians.
Held at Miri City Fan, the annual parade, themed ‘Jesus, The Light of the World’, was attended by Christians from 15 churches in Miri as well as people of various races and religious backgrounds.