PETALING JAYA: An academician from Sarawak says the peninsula remains a stumbling block in achieving unity in Malaysia.
Jayum Jayam, who is now with the Human Ecology Department at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said the present ethnic and religious problems began in the peninsula and they are “being imported into Sarawak”.
He said Sarawakians do not have problems with any religion, be it Islam, Christianity or Buddhism.
“Many native Sarawak families inter-marry. They celebrate Raya and Christmas. They sit together; some eat pork.
“Those who don’t eat pork don’t touch it.”
Jayam was speaking during a forum called “Are we more united as a nation after GE14”, organised by Taylor’s College.
He said it was also the norm for stalls operating under one roof to sell pork, Indian food and nasi lemak.
But he cautioned that Sarawak is facing a problem as it imports racial issues from the peninsula, adding that “if you want to bring your problems here than you should not be welcomed (in Sarawak)”.
He said there was also a fair distribution of work among the Melanau, Bidayuh, Malays, Iban and the Chinese.
However, Jayam said the same cannot be said about job distribution in the civil service in the peninsula.
For instance, he said the directors in the education ministry, who deliberated on policies and brought them up to the minister, were mostly made up of one race.
He said there are about 30 directors.
“How many Indians? Only one. That was three years ago when I did profiling. But for the last two years, there was none. Chinese? Zero,” he said.
He said he was taking the education ministry as an example but it was almost the same scenario in other ministries.
Jayam asked how the directors would understand the needs and aspirations of the Ibans or the Indians.