KUCHING: Sarawakians are again reminded not to take unity among the multi-racial society lightly.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said it is not easy to foster unity among people of various races and religions. He warned that the prevailing unity could so easily be destroyed, especially with the presence of social media which has been used to sow seeds of hatred between people.

“There are certain groups who tend to raise suspicious feelings among races on social media for their own political interest.

“I urge Sarawakians not to get influenced by such activities as racial hostility will only bring us losses,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message.

Abang Johari said as Sarawakians who always cherish peace and harmony, it was gratifying that the people could partake each other’s religious and cultural celebrations in a peaceful manner.

“Do not regard the unity among our people as a matter to be only taken lightly,” he exhorted.

In the meantime, he said due to the conditional movement control order (CMCO) which was expected to end on June 9, Gawai this year could not be celebrated as usual.

“You are not allowed to hold open house, no house-to-house visiting, but only to celebrate among family members and close friends.

“In this regard, I thank you all for understanding and obeying the government’s instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said.

He pointed out that the authorities would not be able to inspect every homes and villages but he believed the respective village heads and longhouse chieftains would ensure that the residents comply with the SOPs and the festival protocols.

“In a festive season like Gawai Dayak, there is nothing more exciting than being with families at the villages or longhouses.

“However, for the time being, many are not able to return to their hometown due to the movement control order that does not allow the people to travel between districts in Sarawak,” he said.

The chief minister said it was alright, but what is more important is that everyone remained safe from Covid-19. Once things are back to normal in the future, the festivity could be celebrated like how it used to be in the past.

“Therefore, to our Dayak friends, I hope you can welcome Gawai with joy despite the current difficulties we are facing,” said Abang Johari.