‘PAS doing a disservice to Sarawak’

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PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad’s statement against my urging to stop the import of West Malaysia Islamic teachers into Sarawak shows PAS’ total lack of understanding and respect for the rights of Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.

Idris Ahmad further claimed that my position will cause calamity to Pakatan Harapan.

For a start, I am surprised by the sudden show of concern by Idris Ahmad about the well-being of Pakatan Harapan. Has PAS leadership not been working together with Umno/BN of late to sabotage Pakatan Harapan’s drive for a change of government? Wouldn’t it be the case that the alleged “calamity to Pakatan Harapan” will fit into the agenda of PAS’ president, Hadi Awang?

In respect of my urging to stop the import of West Malaysian Islamic teachers into Sarawak, it is based on two major considerations, namely:

1. The infiltration of religious bigotry and extremism into Sarawak thereby causing racial segregation and disharmony which is now one of the main problems in West Malaysia.

2. Giving local Sarawakians priority for jobs in Sarawak. There are sufficient Sarawakians who have the necessary knowledge in Islam to teach Islamic education in Sarawak. However, they were not given the opportunities.

In January, 2017 when Jabatan Agama Islam Sarawak (Jais) advertised for ‘Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Gred DG43' position, Jais has only two vacancies. Yet, there were 4,438 application for the said position.

It makes no sense for the government to ignore and turn a blind eye on all these applicants who are Sarawkaians and yet imports 433 Islamic religious teachers from other states on the pretext that there is a shortage of such teachers.

This policy of importing West Malaysian Islamic religious teachers into Sarawak by the BN government runs contrary to the interest of Sarawakians.

I raised this matter in the interest of Sarawak, with a view to try to preserve the social harmony that we Sarawakians have enjoyed and are proud of thus far.

PAS, by attempting to turn this issue into a Muslims against non-Muslims issue, is doing a disservice to Sarawak. PAS, like its new-found friend in Umno, is always trying to arouse religious dichotomy sentiments. That is why PAS will never be accepted in Sarawak.

CHONG CHIENG JEN is Sarawak DAP chairperson, MP for Bandar Kuching and assemblyperson for Kota Sentosa.

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