PETALING JAYA: Works minister Alexander Nanta Linggi has voiced strong support for the stance taken by Sarawak activists and NGOs against the acceptance of Palestinian refugees into the state.
The Kapit MP said Sarawak does not need to accept any refugees, particularly those from countries known for violence, anger and hatred, according to a report by DayakDaily.
“We must be cautious in maintaining and nurturing our peaceful state where the people are now happily living in perfect harmony.
“We do not need any element that can sow negativity, divisiveness and hatred among Sarawakians,” he said in a statement.
The minister said Sarawak should focus on its socio-economic development, prioritising the needs of its own population.
“We are just a small country, we cannot be burdened by refugees. We still have many poor people of our own who need our full attention and care.”
However, Nanta, who is also Gabungan Parti Sarawak secretary-general, urged those with the financial means to assist war victims by purchasing essential supplies for them.
“I plead to Sarawakians to donate to the Palestinians who are suffering from the war,” adding that this approach is more meaningful and safer for the state.
Yesterday, a coalition of civil organisations in Sabah and Sarawak called on the government to properly vet asylum seekers from Palestine to ensure that militant and radical elements are not allowed entry.
Peter John Jaban, of the Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration, said the Sarawak government should safeguard its autonomy over immigration control, even as Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim continued to show support for Hamas.
He speculated that Anwar’s continuing support for Hamas “suggests there will be little attempt to properly vet asylum seekers from Palestine”, which he said carried a risk of entry by radicalised and violent factions.