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Sunday June 23, 2013

All for one, one for all

PBB united: Taib with his wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib and other VIPs at the thanksgiving dinner. -  ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star PBB united: Taib with his wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib and other VIPs at the thanksgiving dinner. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

KUCHING: Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has pledged absolute loyalty to Barisan Nasional, saying that the state’s coalition will “live and die with our friends in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah”.

The Chief Minister said the large portion of Barisan elected representatives from Sarawak and Sabah signified a shift of national agenda towards the two Malaysian states in Borneo.

“We now have the chance to show how the PBB spirit in particular will focus not just on peace, harmony and development in Sarawak, but also how we can help Malaysia develop as a whole,” Taib said at a thanksgiving dinner organised by PBB Petra Jaya branch for its election workers and volunteers here on Friday.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that the majority support the Prime Minister. The responsibility to ensure that Malaysia keeps developing depends a great deal on us.”

In the 13th general election last month, PBB won all 14 constituencies it contested in. Other bumiputra-based parties in Sarawak, including SPDP and PRS, also won in all constituencies they contested.

Sarawak Barisan only lost in the urban constituencies contested by SUPP. PBB emerged from the elections with larger winning majorities in all the 14 constituencies. Taib said the result showed Sarawak’s bumiputras were united and shared a common vision.

On the Opposition, the Chief Minister alluded to protests planned in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“Their propaganda accuses us of a lot of things. But for most voters, including myself, we all knew how peaceful polling day actually was. It was ‘bersih’. We must defend our good name. Malaysia has among the best track records of any developing nation in terms of organising elections.”

On a related matter, Taib said Peninsular Malaysia would always be more developed, partly because it has a much larger market.

“There are more than 20 million people there compared to 2.5 million in Sarawak. But Malaysia is day by day developing more. Over the next 20 years, new sources of wealth will come from Sarawak and Sabah,” Taib said.

“We have always had the natural resources. But more importantly, we will have a lot more trained human capital soon. In Sarawak, by 2017, we are forecast to achieve a GDP per capita of US$15,000.

“In 1963, Sarawak was the third poorest. Today we are already among the richest states in Malaysia,” Taib said.

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