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Sarawak no longer insulated from intolerance, extremism, says ex-minister
Published on: Tuesday, April 02, 2024
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Sarawak no longer insulated from intolerance, extremism, says ex-minister
Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said the authorities must be seen to act quickly against those responsible for the attack on a KK Mart store in Kuching.
PETALING JAYA: A former federal minister says Sunday’s attack on a KK Mart store in Kuching shows Sarawakians can no longer assume they are free from the racial and religious bigotry that has afflicted Peninsular Malaysia.

Baru Bian said in the past, when news of such incidents was reported in West Malaysia, the people of Sarawak were proud and glad that it would never happen in the East Malaysian state where the people had co-existed harmoniously for centuries.

“We thought that we were insulated from the intolerance and extremism displayed in such ugly fashion by the political opportunists and religious fanatics in West Malaysia.

“It appears that we were wrong,” Baru, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said in a statement.

Baru said the attack also showed that there might be small clusters of people who had become inclined towards such acts of terror and destruction.

In order to curb the influence of these groups of people, he said, it was crucial that political and religious leaders spoke up.

“If we keep quiet, the extremists will become emboldened and even more brazen to instil fear among the rakyat, and they will eventually control the narrative of the country.”

Baru, who served as works minister from 2018 to 2020, went on to thank deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof – who is from Sarawak – for making a stand against the attack and calling for the arrest of the culprits.

The authorities must be seen to act quickly to bring those responsible to justice, he said.

“Nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands and such behaviour must be nipped in the bud before it escalates.”

Last night, DAP’s Dr Kelvin Yii said he was left stunned by the firebomb attack on the KK Mart outlet.

“Of all places, we did not expect this to happen in Kuching, Sarawak, a place where for years we have learned to live harmoniously regardless of our race, religion, or background,” the Bandar Kuching MP told FMT.

The attack on the KK Mart outlet in Kuching on Sunday was the third such incident in the span of a week. The incident was reported by a 25-year-old man who worked at the outlet in Jalan Satok.

The first two attacks were carried out at KK Mart outlets in Bidor, Perak, and Kuantan, Pahang.

KK Mart has been mired in controversy since March 13 after socks with the word “Allah” were discovered at its Bandar Sunway outlet, sparking calls by Umno Youth for a nationwide boycott of the convenience store chain.

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