KOTA KINABALU: Unity is strong in Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan because their communities trust each other, says National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Baharin Idris.
Baharin said his personal experiences have shown that the trust deficit was not a problem in Sabah and Labuan.
"One of the advantages of the communities in Sabah and Labuan as well as Sarawak is that the trust deficit has never been an issue.
"They have a strong sense of trust among each other and that is why they are united. This is one thing that everyone should strive to preserve until the end of time," he said in his speech at a unity gathering between representatives from Rukun Tetangga (RT), residents' associations (RAs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sabah and Labuan.
Baharin said the gathering, which was held at the Sabah Administrative Centre (PPNS) here Sunday (June 16), was a platform to bring these three community-based entities together to serve the community better.
"RTs, RAs and NGOs are on the front lines when it comes to identifying issues faced by a community, as well as identifying their needs and solutions to their problems. This has to be handled wisely, without touching on the sensitivities of any community," he said.
Baharin commended the community leaders , who came from various parts of Sabah and Labuan, for showing commitment to attend the gathering.
"We know that geographically, Sabah is a big state. But we see community leaders coming from afar to attend this meeting. This shows that distance is not a deterrent for the communities in Sabah and Labuan.
"We hope the other states can learn from them," he told reporters after launching the event.