Saturday February 9, 2013
Nail culprits behind webpage
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: A Facebook page that is trying to fan ill-feelings between the people of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawakians and Sabahans has received condemnation from an assistant state minister and from 1Malaysia Development Bhd, a unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
There are calls for the Malaysian Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the webpage that has existed since Dec 19 and which has posted derogatory and sinister remarks about Sarawakians and Sabahans.
The webpage identified itself as “Semenanjung Malaya Anti Sabah-Sarawak”.
1Malaysia Development Bhd public relations head Datuk Zahari Sulaiman and Communications Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, yesterday, urged the commission and the police to nail the person or persons behind the webpage.
Zahari and Lee told The Star that the authorities must immediately probe the page and stop the campaign of hate.
Both of them also called on the people of Sarawak and Sabah not to react or respond with similar remarks so as not to add fuel to the fire.
The Facebook writer, who identified himself with a Malay name, had criticised the people of Sarawak and Sabah and used terms like “stupid”, “brainless” and other derogatory/sinister labels.
Among his litany of notorious comments, the writer said that Peninsular Malaysia did not need Sarawak and Sabah, and also labelled Sarawakians and Sabahans as ungrateful people.
Zahari, who is based at the 1Malaysia Development Bhd headquarters in the PM’s Department in Putrajaya, said the webpage did not reflect the general feelings that Peninsular Malaysians had for Sarawak and Sabah.
He told The Star that the majority of Peninsular Malaysians had very good impressions of Sarawakians and Sabahans, realising that they were important components of the Malaysian community.
“Whoever posted such hurtful remarks against the people of Sarawak and Sabah are anti-government in nature,” said Zahari.
“What the webpage said about Sarawakians and Sabahans are the views of narrow-minded and mentally-disturbed people.”
He went on to say that the remarks did not reflect the stand of Government leaders or the majority of the people in the peninsula who already realised that Sarawak and Sabah were excellent models of racial and religious unity and that Sarawakians and Sabahans were shining examples of people who truly practised the ideals of 1Malaysia.
According to him, when the national leaders spoke about the concept and ideals of 1Malaysia, they always pointed out that Sarawak and Sabah were models that the whole country should emulate.
He, therefore, urged the multimedia commission and the police to act quickly on the webpage writer to prevent any more provocation of anger and hatred.
“We must not allow such acts to go unpunished,” he said.
Zahari pointed out the possibility that the webpage could be the work of person or persons out to create problems during the crucial build-up period to the 13th general election.
He then related that many peninsular people who had worked in Sarawak and Sabah acknowledged that Sarawakians and Sabahans were among the friendliest people in the world.
“In Sarawak and Sabah, I have many good friends of different ethnic groups and religions,” he said.
Sarawakians and Sabahans, he said, lived in peace and harmony in the true sense of the word.
He pointed out that many peninsular Malaysians who had worked in the two states even ended up marrying the indigenous people and were living very happily with them,” he stressed.
As for Lee, he said the commission and the police must use whatever laws that were at their disposal to collar the hateful Facebookers.
Lee, who is also Senadin SUPP chief and Senadin assemblyman, said the state authorities did not want to see Sarawakians reacting with similar vitriolics.
“The people of Sarawak must keep their cool. Do not respond with similar hateful remarks against our friends in the peninsula,” he urged.
He insisted that the contents of the webpage did not reflect the general feelings of peninsular Malaysians.
The hateful remarks, he said, were the work of a very small number of people who did not know Sarawakians and Sabahans.
“Those people who have ill-feelings against east Malaysians are out to create disharmony and animosity and are, therefore, against national unity,” he said.
He noted that they want to create the impression that the people of the peninsula are not on good terms with the people of Sarawak and Sabah.
“That is not the true situation on the ground. I know for a fact that many people from the peninsula who have been here before love Sarawak very much and admire our genuine friendliness and hospitality,” he said.
Lee said there are in fact many peninsular Malaysians who had settled down in Sarawak after having experienced the genuine racial unity and religious harmony in the state.
The hateful contents of the Facebook page have been reposted on several Internet news portals.