KOTA KINABALU: The rhetoric of regionalism should not be used during campaigns for the coming Sabah state election as it could divide the people from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Barisan Nasional chairman said such sentiments should not be used by politicians, as the people, regardless of where they are from, are Malaysians after all.
He was responding to the rhetoric of the “Malaya party” and “Sabah party” that is being used by local politicians in their campaigns.
“Don’t divide peninsular Malaysians from those in Sabah and Sarawak, we are all Malaysians.
“Don’t play (with the sentiments of) Sabah for Sabahans and Sarawak for Sarawakians, ” he said.
Ahmad Zahid was speaking during his speech at a ceramah in the Tanjung Keramat constituency on Tuesday (Sept 15) night.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid referenced the 2013 intrusion of Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu, where locals had lost their lives to armed intruders.
“To those who perished in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, they fought to defend Sabah not because they are Sabahans.
“There are Sabahans who are patrolling the borders in Kedah, Kelantan and Perak and that’s because they regard peninsular soil as theirs.
“It doesn’t matter whether they are from Sarawak or other states, but Sabah soil is ours together and if there are intruders, we will defend it together, ” he said.
Ahmad Zahid is in Sabah to campaign for BN in the coming 16th state election.
The 16th state election will feature multi-cornered fights in all 73 seats.