KOTA KINABALU: This Malaysia Day, celebrated for the first time under a new federal government, should be the starting point for Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia to renew their previously agreed upon commitments and address imbalances in development said Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
In saying this, Sabah Chief Minister likened the gaping difference between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula to the South China Sea separating the states.
"The economic progress and social welfare (between the peninsula and Sabah, Sarawak) is still imbalanced.
"With the new federal government, let the Malaysia Day celebration this time be a starting point for us to renew the commitments that we have agreed on together.
"Whatever issues that come up have to be reviewed so that all of us could stand equally as a nation," he said during the Malaysia Day celebrations at Padang Merdeka here on Sunday night (Sept 16).
It is believed Shafie was alluding to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Also present was Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and other top federal and state leaders.
Representing Sarawak was its Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.
"Decisions are made based on cooperation. That is why we must retain this spirit and hold fast to the spirit that all matters can be achieved via negotiations," he said.
Shafie, in asking for more funds and allocations for the development of Sabah, said these are needed in order to realise the people's mounting hope for a better economy, political stability and the welfare of Malaysia.
He also credited Dr Mahathir for his efforts and initiatives in bringing development to all the states, including to Sabah.
"We hope that under the new government, whether at the federal or state level, more development and progress can be brought to Sabah," he said.
Shafie added that since Parti Warisan Sabah and its allies took over as the state government, Sabah has received investors from all over the world.
"They have shown interest in investing in Sabah, especially in strategic sectors," said Shafie.
Sabahans were fortunate as the state has everything it needs to emerge as an economic power with its vast natural resources and richness of cultures and traditions, said Shafie.
"Sabah is also committed to progress and preparing a human resource that is knowledgeable, highly skilled and innovative.
"If all of these plans run smoothly, Sabah will not only be a fast growing state, and no segment of its people will be left behind," he said.