Racism is still deeply embedded in our society after 51 years or ‘merdeka’. Drawing on my experience having spent more than 10 years residing in ‘Malaya’ (as Peninsula Malaysia is known to us in Sarawak) – I can really feel the racial divide.

The first thing I notice when I set my foot on former Subang International Airport was the glaring animosity between the three ‘major races’ of Malaysia. It was something I’ve not used to while in Sarawak.

It didn’t take long before I was warned numerous times, that the Malays are lazy and if not because of the NEP they won’t get what they have – by the Chinese; Chinese are liars and untrustworthy – by the Malays; Indians – as they warned me are the least trusted. Gosh!

What is wrong with Malaysia? Why are the Chinese, Malay and Indian still at odd with each other after all these years and billions have been spent on national integration! Did they forget about the ‘fact’ that:

this country is built on the blood, sweat and tears of all races. Not just one race. Without the Malays, Chinese and Indians, there would be no Malaysia. It was the political maturity, moderation and wisdom of the Malay rulers and political leaders who made Malaysia possible. The Malays, as it was and still is, protected the country as soldiers and policemen. The Chinese, with their labor and entrepreneur skills, build the economy.

Peninsula should learn from Sarawak or Sabah

Having return to Sarawak almost couple of years now – I could sense Sarawak is changing too. Now we see ‘schools’ are not allowed to hold ‘prayer gathering in school premises’ anymore, segregation of sexes becoming more common etc.

I just hope the fate of Sarawak won’t be like that of ‘Malaya’ where you will never see a Malay drinking at a kopitiam shop. Here in Sarawak we can still see people of various races mingling with each other without much problem.

A Malay Muslim can still seat with his non-halal friends – eating food permitted by their respective religions; Malay eating ‘nasi lemak’, Chinese and Dayak eating their favorite ‘Kampua mee or mee rangkai’ without much problem in an Apek own shop – on one table!