Racial politics not yet over, says Harris

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Harris Salleh opines that racial politics in the country is not yet over.

He said contrary to the perception of some people, the voices of certain leaders fighting for the interests of their own communities or groups were still heard.

“Racial politics still exists except that nobody wants to tell the truth because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of other people or races,” he told reporters after delivering a lecture on agriculture development in Sabah at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) main campus in Likas, here yesterday.

Harris was asked to comment on the statement by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee on Wednesday that the landslide victory of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim augured well for non-racial politics in Malaysia.

Yong, who is also a former chief minister, said racial politics which was rejected in the March general election was again rejected by voters in Permatang Pauh.

On Anwar’s victory in the by-election on Tuesday, Harris said it was expected as Permatang Pauh had always been a stronghold of the former deputy prime minister. He said the swing of non-Malay voters in favour of the opposition also contributed to the victory.

On another note, Harris urged the Sabah government to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study or “area by area study” in the state with a view to embark on commercial-scale agriculture activities other than oil palm, rubber, padi and cocoa cultivation.

“We have a lot of vacant land in Sabah that can be developed for this purpose and I believe it’s high time for the state government or even UMS to study this matter.

“What we need is a conclusive finding that can be used as a guideline for the people to know the kind of crops that are suitable for a particular area,” he said.

Harris, who is Gaya Group of Companies chairman, said with good agriculture practice, the sector would further develop and reduce the country’s dependency on food imports in future.

Borneo Post

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