TENOM: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said all ethnic groups in Sabah, Sarawak and indigenous people in Peninsular Malaysia should be accorded the same rights by the Government.
According to Bernama, he said all ethnic groups in the country, whether Kadazan, Dusun, Murut or Iban, were the same and recognition should be given to all as they had high cultural values that must be appreciated and respected.
“A sense of pride among all ethnic groups is necessary because although we have different backgrounds, different religions and languages, we are Sabahans and Malaysians who steadfastly continue to support Barisan Nasional,” he said.
Barisan had a proven track record of taking care of all communities, said Dr Ahmad Zahid during his speech when launching the state-level Kalimaran Festival at Padang Pekan Tenom here.
About 10,000 people from various ethnic groups attended the festival.
Also present were Dr Ahmad Zahid’s wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Sabah Murut Association president Datuk Rubin Balang, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Radin Malleh.
Congratulating Murut cultural dancers who had won an international-level dance competition recently, Dr Ahmad Zahid also called on other ethnic groups to bring glory to the country at the global level.
“We want other ethnic groups to demonstrate their capability to the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Zahid promised to continue to assist Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to fulfil the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“We will return the rights of Sabah and Sarawak ... is it the current leader’s fault when MA63 is not implemented? Why was Malaysia’s longest (serving) leader not concerned about implementing MA63?
“I support 100% for Sabah and Sarawak be given their rights back,” he added.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Barisan’s manifesto announced by the Prime Minister recently proved there was no difference between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak.
“There is no difference between rural and urban areas. Wherever we are, we are still the same. Although Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula are separated by the South China Sea, we remain united as Malaysian unity must be maintained,” he added.