Kuching Bersih organiser slams minister's 'English woman' tag

Kuching Bersih organiser slams minister's 'English woman' tag
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUCHING - Karen Shepherd, the Sarawakian Eurasian who is one of the most visible organisers of Kuching's Bersih 4 rally this weekend, has hit out at a minister for labelling her a foreigner.

Shepherd, who is married to Peter John Jaban, the controversial former Radio Free Sarawak presenter, told reporters her family roots in Sarawak reached back five generations and she has a blue MyKad and a registered voter in Kuching.

"The minister attacked me for the colour of my skin and not for what I do or what I say. Yes, I am 'orang puteh' but whatever the colour of my skin, I am Sarawakian," Shepherd said.

In a Bernama report on Wednesday, state Land Development Minister Tan Sri James Masing said it was "strange" for Bersih to allow "the English woman" to interfere in state affairs.

"I thought we are free from our English colonial masters. Where is the pride in allowing an outsider to speak on our behalf?" the PRS president told Bernama.

Shepherd was surprised that Masing, given his high office, did not check her citizenship before issuing the statement.

"Attack me if you must but attack me for my actions and not my race. If you cancel out the contribution of everyone who doesn't fit your racial profile, then I content Sarawak would be significantly poorer.

"My own Eurasian grandfather - half Scottish and half Chinese - was the first Sarawak Immigration director and Registrar General. He may have even signed your birth certificate Masing."

Shepherd pointed out that many of Sarawak's elites were married to foreigners and have Eurasian children and grandchildren.

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