Wong said it was never her intention to cause any unease within the Muslim community as she was merely following the footsteps of her late father Datuk Stephen Wong, the incumbent two-term Sandakan MP, who would clean up Muslim cemeteries every year.
“But I will be more careful. I didn’t know it would cause disputes among Muslims.
“It was also the wishes of my late father. He always cleaned up Muslim cemeteries each year. He also has a lot of supporters.
“So I will be more cautious (on such issues) in the future,” she told a press conference at the Sandakan DAP service centre on Monday (April 29).
Also present was Sabah Parti Amanah Negara chairman Haris Alimudin, who defended Wong’s programme, saying that Sabah is a state that rejects racial issues.
“In Sabah, we reject issues pertaining to race and hatred which do not touch on the interest of the people at all.
“We don’t want what has happened in other areas to be brought to Sabah,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zamri Othman, a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supporter who has lived in Kampung Sim Sim for over 40 years, also defended Wong’s programme, pointing out that it was a normal practice by her father.
“My father who passed away 20 years ago as well as my mother who passed away last year are buried in that particular cemetery.
“We welcome Wong’s presence as a guest. There is no religious issue here. We are a diverse society,” said Zamri.
He added that the political newbie had just lost her father on March 28.
“In Islam, we cannot stop anyone from coming. We must welcome them. So, we are treating her just like our sister, our family. We understand her situation,” he said.
On Sunday (April 28), a picture of Wong cleaning up the Muslim cemetery during her campaign in the Sandakan by-election drew flak on social media, with some calling it a political gimmick, alleging that it was not genuine.
The Sandakan by-election was called after Stephen Wong passed away from a heart attack.
The May 11 polls is set to see a five-cornered fight between Wong, Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Datuk Linda Tsen and three independent candidates.
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