KOTA KINABALU: The chief organiser of the Malay Dignity Congress has come under fire from political leaders in Sabah over his remark that Malaysia belongs to the Malays, with many reminding him of Sabah and Sarawak’s claim to the country as well.
Zainal Kling said yesterday that their social contract with the Malays was the basis on which other communities had received citizenship.
He also said the social contract could be suspended if non-Malays break the agreement.
Malaysia is for Malays just as Thailand is for the Thais, China for the Chinese, and India for the Indians, he said.
Parti Bersatu Sabah president Maximus Ongkili said it appeared that the “minds of some quarters” were still trapped in the “pre-Malaysia” era.
“I am shocked that 62 years after Malaya gained its independence, there are still groups who claim that this country belongs only to one particular race,” he said.
“This only proves that we are far from being a mature and developed nation.”
Ongkili, who is Kota Marudu MP, also warned Zainal against arrogance, saying non-Malays, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak, had also played a role in the formation of Malaysia.
“Stop putting down other communities who helped build this nation,” he added.
“Where do you put the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak? We are co-owners of this country, too.”
Sabah MCA women’s chief Pamela Yong meanwhile urged Sabahans to be the “bigger” party by demonstrating humility and restraint.
“We will not be sucked into such contemptible battles and will not reciprocate such bigotry with more segregation and division,” she said.
“I would like to call on all peace-loving Malaysians to start a movement – when they go low, let’s go high.
“Let us reject all bigotry and embrace acceptance and tolerance.”
Yong added that while progressive leaders around the world were fighting for the rights of minorities, Malaysians appeared trapped in a “Malay versus non-Malays bubble”.
She said the “Malaysia Baru” concept touted during the last general election had turned out to be “just another smokescreen”.
“It is disappointing that we still have leaders who are publicly spewing racial, seditious and inflammatory remarks,” she added.
She also dismissed any need to stir up racial sentiments, saying Malay rights are well protected in the Federal Constitution.
Sabah Progressive Party deputy president Japiril Suhaimin said such comments were unacceptable and did not augur well for a multiracial and multi-religious country such as Malaysia.
“It’s sheer ignorance for Zainal to claim that Malaysia belongs to the Malays only. Malaysia belongs to all the citizens of various races.
“Sabah and Sarawak do not belong to the Malays,” he said, adding that there are some 42 ethnic groups in Sabah and 40 in Sarawak.