KOTA KINABALU: KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Youth Council Advisor Ceasar Mandela Malakun has condemned Islamic religious preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s statements against the Indian and Chinese community labelling them as old guests who should be sent home to their country of origin if they wanted new guests like himself to be repatriated to India.
“Zakir Naik shows that he is ignorant about the nation’s history and how the people of Indian and Chinese descent arrived in the country,” said Mandela.
He added that Indians and Chinese born in Malaysia are Malaysians and that they do not belong in either China or India.
“If the Indians and Chinese born in Malaysia are sent to India and China, then the same argument might equally be applied to those people whose ancestry or origins are from Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar and etc.
“If we were to strictly apply this, only the Orang Asli will be left populating the lands of Malaysia, which is neither practical nor proper to solve the issue at hand, especially in a multi ethnic and multi religious country such as Malaysia,” he added.
Mandela added that in so far as Sabah is concerned, the Chinese here are not less Malaysian than the Kadazans, Dusuns, Bajaus, Bisayas, Orang Sungais and etc.
“They were all born in Sabah. In fact, their parents and grandparents were also born or perhaps had arrived in then North Borneo before the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
“In fact, based on archaeological findings, the Chinese had actually settled in Kinabatangan since a thousand years ago,” he stressed.
He added that although referred to as Chinese or Indians racially, they are bona fide legal citizens of Malaysia.
“They are not Chinese citizens. So, how can Zakir Naik ask them to go back to China when they are not Chinese citizens?
“At the same time, we do have many cases of people or migrants from neighbours countries who only arrived recently and illegally, who suddenly became included as victims of some burnt villages and are immediately given monetary aid as well as documents such as late birth certificates and MyKads that enable them to become eligible Malaysian voters,” He said further.
He added that the Chinese people in Sabah had helped build the state’s economy and if it wasn’t for the Chinese business activities such as building shop houses throughout the whole state, the economic progress might not have been so rapid, successful and widespread as it is today.
He named Chinese business pioneers such as Datuk Seri Hong Teck Guan (Teck Guan Trading), Tan Sri Lau Gek Poh (Hap Seng Group) and many more are household names in Sabah long before Zakir Naik even stepped foot in Malaysia.
“Before 1963, there were already shop houses built and owned by the Chinese in Donggongon, Kasigui, Kinarut, Papar, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Sipitang, Keningau, Tenom, Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu to name a few.
“During the formation of Malaysia, among the signatories were Datuk Khoo Siak Chew, a local Chinese leader from Sandakan. For outsiders like Zakir Naik to ask the descendants of the likes of Khoo Siak Chew to go back to China simply because he is of Chinese descent is not only an injustice but a grave mockery of the contribution that the Chinese leaders and community have played in the history of the formation of Malaysia.
“Our nation would not be a thriving nation it is today if not for its multiculturalism which includes our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters,” he added.-pr/BNN