KOTA KINABALU: Kinabatangan Umno Youth voiced concern today over what it sees as a rise of racism within the party, calling for a return of the “1Malaysia spirit” promoted by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Its chief Mohd Kurniawan Naim Moktar said the wing welcomed the strengthening of friendship between Umno and PAS, but added that it believes some within the party have become “too radical” in their views.
“It is true that Umno was formed to fight for the rights of the Malays and Islam, but some people are becoming more extreme than PAS, and in whatever wrong is done, they blame it on the person’s race and religion,” he said.
“All our lives, we have been surrounded by friends of different races and religions, and we in Sabah, especially here in Kinabatangan, are extremely uncomfortable with race-based politics.”
Naim, who is also Sabah Umno information chief, said the time had come for the government to get rid of vernacular schools in order to strengthen unity among the different communities.
He said other developed countries have only one schooling system, and that Malaysia should follow suit.
“We are no longer willing to watch our children being segregated according to race,” he told FMT.
“Let them all be united under one roof, and if need be, introduce vernacular language subjects for students as is practised in our universities.”
He also urged the government to tackle the issue of educating stateless children in Sabah, whose numbers he said are on the rise.
He said Kinabatangan Umno Youth was worried that the problem would have a domino effect which could lead to more serious issues such as crime and social ills.
He praised the state government’s efforts to reclaim Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) but cautioned that its leaders must be transparent in everything they do.
“The Pakatan Harapan government promised us 20% oil royalty and the return of 50% of net revenue collection by the federal government even though MA63 only said 40%.
“We have been following this development in Parliament, and we notice that neither issue has been included in the debate.
“We hope that this so-called struggle will not become more political rhetoric aimed at tricking Sabahans again,” he said.