Sept 16 reminder of nation’s birth
Abang Johari says role and status of Sarawak, Sabah in formation of Malaysia must be preserved in nation’s history
SIBU: Sarawakians and Sabahans feel it is important to give due recognition to Sept 16 as the date Malaysia was formed and the date must not be forgotten in the nation’s history because Sarawak and Sabah were parties in the formation of Malaysia and were annexed by Malaya.
This was stated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in his speech at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration at Sibu town square last night.
“I believe the bigger implication is that the people in both the eastern part of Malaysia do not want to be taken for granted not only historically but also economically and politically.
“Sarawakians also want to be on equal standing with their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia in as far as economic development is concerned because that was the hope and aspiration of our founding leaders when they signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963. It is also the hope of all Sarawakians yesterday, today and tomorrow,” he said.
Head of state Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib, the Chief Minister’s wife
Sarawakians also want to be on equal standing with their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia in as far as economic development is concerned because that was the hope and aspiration of our founding leaders when they signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963 . —Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg Chief Minister
Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Minister of International Trade and ECommerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh were among those present.
Abang Johari said it could not be denied that Sarawak is behind Semenanjung Malaysia in infrastructure development.
“But we are thankful that the Prime Minister is aware of the aspiration of Sarawakians that they should have at least one system of roads that is of highway standard after 54 years as part of Malaysia, therefore the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway is very much welcomed,” he stated.
He also said the state of more than 1,000 dilapidated rural schools, be they primary or secondary schools, was a case in point that should be rectified as soon as possible to address the perception that Sarawak was not being given due attention by the Federal Government as education was under the purview of the federal government.
“We understand that the Federal Government may not have sufficient funds to repair or rebuild these rural schools which isw estimated to cost about RM1 billion over and above the sum allocated in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
“We are willing to assist the Federal Government through our Development Bank. We appreciate that the Prime Minister has agreed to this arrangement.
“The Deputy Prime Minister has also agreed to the same arrangement in a meeting here last Wednesday (Sept 13) so that the run-down rural schools can be physically improved without much delay.
“We believe that Malaysia can be a stronger nation if there is equal economic footing on both sides of the South China Sea. Discontent will only breed discord and disunity among Malaysians,” Abang Johari added further.
The VIPs led by His Excellency ( fth left) together with Raghad (sixth left), Abang Johari (fourth left) and Wong (third left) singing along the patriotic song.