Sarawak activist slams Perlis mufti over ‘Tanah Melayu’ statement

Peter John Jaban. (Facebook pic)

KUCHING: Political activist Peter John Jaban has denounced Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin for referring to Malaysia as “Tanah Melayu”, saying he was either displaying his ignorance or deliberately disregarding the fact that Sarawak and Sabah are integral parts of the Malaysian federation.

Speaking to FMT, Jaban said Asri had made a fool of himself with the statement and had hurt the feelings of Sarawakians and Sabahans.

He asked whether the mufti was aware of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and that the Dayaks formed the majority of the population in the Borneo states.

Jaban, who leads a movement called Sarawak for Sarawakians, claimed that even Sarawak Malays were loath to be identified with the Malays on the peninsula. “They have always referred to themselves as Sarawakians,” he said.

He urged the Sarawak government to bar Asri from entering the state.

Asri’s controversial statement came in a sermon he delivered recently. He posted a video recording of it on his Facebook page on Thursday.

He was criticising those who would not recognise the dominance of the Malays in Malaysia, saying it was indisputable that every country in the world would have its dominant race.

“Of course, justice is for all,” he said. “But there must be a dominant race.”

Jaban said matters involving race, religion and royalty had never been a problem among the people of Sarawak and Sabah.

“This is why Sarawakians and Sabahans are not keen to be part of Malaysia,” he said, adding that the indigenous peoples of the two states had the right to call for self-determination.