TAMBUNAN (Aug 31): The combination of national and state development policies that are consistent and in sync has put Sabah on the right track to continue succeeding and moving forward, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.
Hajiji said as the partner in forming the Malaysia Federation, Sabah will continue looking after her close relation with the Peninsular and Sarawak, especially with the Federal Government.
He said since Malaysia was formed six decades ago, a lot of developments had been achieved.
However, there are still a lot of shortages that need to be met to reduce development gap between the three regions that have joined to form Malaysia today which are Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.
“Our struggle for independence is an ongoing process. Progress and development is a matter that must be implemented for the wellbeing of the people.”
“The idea of a civilised Malaysia which is the country’s administration pillar under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Anwar Ibrahim, is aligned with the Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) development plan which is the State Government’s roadmap since three years ago,” he said.
“We have gone through various trials and successes in the past six decades, but nothing is more refreshing than the spirit we create today. It is a spirit which represents the voice and will of the Sabah people. It is a spirit that aligns with the goal of the state government under the leadership of the Unity Government – that is we are determined to be which is a government for the people who share the dreams of the people of Sabah”, he said when launching the 2023 State-level Sabah Day celebration at Pisompuruan Square hall here on Thursday.
Hajiji added the State Government of today, under the administration of the Unity Government, is working to improve the economy and the people’s standard of living.
“Our goal is to prioritise the interests and well-being of the people.
“As part of the Unity Government at the Federal level, we acknowledge the importance of the close relationship between the state and central governments to achieve development progress and economic prosperity.
“We believe that a good relationship will facilitate all matters and claims, whether involving the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) or other matters related to development and nationality”, he stressed.
Hajiji also shared several successes that have been attained by the state government within the two years period, in line with SMJ development roadmap.
Among the proofs is achievement in the economic development sector when Sabah trade achieved the highest record in history.
He said last year, Sabah trade reached RM118.1 billion compared to RM87.2 billion in 2021.
The increase of 35.4 percent is due to positive economic growth recently and trade value is expected to continue rising, he said.
He also said for the first two years, the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government had achieved a lot of success in terms of the MA63.
“The GRS government and friends have worked hard to strengthen political stability and unity in Sabah. Several important milestones have been achieved by the state government in relation to MA63 including the oil and gas sector. Recently, SMJ Sdn Bhd, a State government wholly owned company is rated AAA by the Risk Assessment Model Ratings (RAM Ratings) to raise sukuk worth RM10 billion after the company was deemed highly strategic to the state government as a vehicle to fight for oil and gas resources in Sabah.
“We continue to be on the right track after the restructuring of Sabah Development Bank (SDBank) recently, where on August 11, 2023 it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Chief Minister’s authority, in accordance with the Chief Minister’s Corporation Ordinance. Previously, SDBank was under Sabah Development Berhad, and is now under the supervision of the Finance Ministry.”
He said this effort strengthens the State Government’s commitment to support SDBank in implementing financial responsibilities.
He said Sabah had attracted over RM33 billion in investment and attained a revenue of RM7 billion, which is the highest since gaining independence.
Commenting on Sabah Day, the Chief Minister said it is a historical and significant official event for the entire Sabah people, not just for the present generation but also for past and future generations.
He said the effort and struggle to again hold a celebration for Sabah Day started a few years ago, and it has become a talk and discussion among the people including politicians in the state.
“Realising the importance of Sabah Day to all the people, hence the State Government decided to re-create the Sabah Day celebration in the state.
“Actually, Sabah Day used to be celebrated at several districts on 31st August 1963, which was followed by the Malaysia Day on 16th September.”
“However, it seems as if the Sabah Day is hidden by the National Day which is also celebrated on the same date. So, after such a long time, this year and today, we return to celebrating Sabah Day just as it was celebrated 60 years ago,” he said.
Hajiji said the Sabah Day was declared by British Governor, Sir William Goode on 28th August 1963 in Jesselton, by declaring that Sabah would have her own government and a new State Constitution to be enforced on 31 August 1963.
In line with the declaration, every district was ordered to make preparations to celebrate the Sabah Day on 31st August 1963.
Hajiji said the postive development that occurred on 31st August, 60 years ago, was linked to the majority voice movement conducted by the Cobbold Commission on the North Borneo citizens from February 1962, linked to the setting up of a new country named the Federation of Malaysia.
Four regions were involved in the effort to unite which were Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.
He said in the context of the Sabah state, the majority of the people in the state agreed to join the three other regions namely Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form the Malaysia Federation.
“Behind the history of struggle to free our nation from colonialists, today we should take positive approach in the name of sovereignty and the nation’s dignity,”
“Hence the decision made by the State Government to celebrate again the Sabah Day to remember the day that signified the end of English colonialists in Sabah. While Sarawak has declared earlier that 22nd July is Sarawak Day.”