MIRI: Malaysia must outline a policy on racial and religious moderation and make it a guide for every ministry, government department, agency and enforcement unit, says the Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak (Scrips).
Its secretary-general Michael Jok said such a policy would make moderate thinking and behaviour a reality instead of a mere ideal.
He said there must be concrete action by the Government, not just good intentions, to achieve moderation.
Lauding The Star for taking steps to promote moderation among Malaysians, he said it was important for the Government to take tangible steps to adopt moderation as a compulsory blueprint.
“Scrips is made up of people and organisations from so many native ethnic groups in Sarawak. We are worried about recent happenings involving race and religion in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Many of the things that touch on religious and racial sensitivities are the result of certain groups adopting stances that are too extreme, too personal and too self-centred,” he said.
Jok said Sarawak had not experienced such problems because the people accepted everyone as they were, whether they were Orang Ulu, Iban, Bidayuh, Malay, Chinese or Indian.
“It doesn’t matter whether they are Muslims, Christians, Buddhists or people of other faiths because all are accepted as one big family.
“You go into any coffeeshop in any part of Sarawak and you can see people of the various races sitting in the same place, eating and drinking together.
“Of course, the Muslims have halal food, so you can see a shop selling halal and non-halal foods in different stalls inside the same premises,” he said.
Jok said there were churches and mosques built next to each other, and they even shared car parks.
“Such a situation does not create dispute or problems here. That is why we have managed to maintain a very balanced outlook in life by not distinguishing people based on race and religion,” he added.
Jok suggested that the Cabinet come up with programmes that can be implemented to douse the hatred stirred up by extremist groups.
He urged government leaders to show a good example that reflects moderation in thinking, speech and action.