PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak minister has slammed state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen for trying to stoke racial sentiments with his criticisms over the recent appointment of a third deputy chief minister (DCM) for Sarawak.
Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that Chong was unfair in his criticism of Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg for appointing PBB acting deputy president Awang Tengah Ali Hassan as the state’s third DCM.
The other two DCMs are PBB acting deputy president Douglas Uggah Embas and PRS president James Jemut Masing.
In a recent statement, Chong said it was hypocritical of Abang Johari to call on the Chinese community to “return to mainstream politics” but not appoint a Chinese DCM in his cabinet.
“It is unfair for Chong to say that Chinese weren’t represented in the Sarawak cabinet.
“There are two ethnic Chinese in the cabinet who are full ministers and there is also a Chinese who is an assistant minister,” he said, referring to Sarawak Second Finance Minister Wong Soon Koh, Local Government and Housing Minister Sim Kui Hian, and Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lee Kim Shin.
Wong is also international trade and e-commerce minister.
Karim said Chong should realise that the state cabinet was reflective of state election results and that appointments of cabinet members couldn’t be for “token” purposes. He added that Wong and Sim hold important portfolios.
“Chong should know that race has never been an issue in Sarawak and Sarawakians from all walks of life have been living in peace, side by side, since independence.
“Now he is playing the racial card by accusing Abang Johari of not appointing a Chinese DCM and insinuating that this non-appointment is a political hypocrisy of the highest degree,” he said.
Karim, a PBB Supreme Council member, then accused DAP of dividing the people with its politics of hate.
“DAP would always incite the Chinese against Sarawak BN, with the aim of becoming the ‘champion’ of the Chinese community, this despite Sarawak BN always having the interests of the Chinese at heart.
“Despite DAP winning more Chinese seats in the state in recent years, Sarawak BN has never mistreated the community,” Karim said, adding that former chief minister, the late Adenan Satem had never failed to look after the interests of the Chinese community.
While in power, albeit for less than three years, Adenan had recognised the Unified Chinese Examination (UEC) certificate for scholarships and state government jobs, and also allocated RM12 million to the 14 Chinese independent schools in the state.
“Chong knows this and he is clearly resorting to dirty racial politics to create a wedge between the Chinese community and the Sarawak government,” said Karim.