Bridging the social and economic gap

KOTA KINABALU: The Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to narrow the gap in various aspects between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula, says Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said as the nation marked Malaysia Day today, there were still many social and economic aspects with regard to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that needed to be addressed and made known to Malaysians.

He said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was aware that there was a great disparity between both sides and the desire of youths in Sabah and Sarawak “to really see and experience the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030”.

Ongkili said he had high expectations of the new PM continuing the commitment to develop Sabah and Sarawak, as done by his predecessors.

He said MA63 was fundamental in sustaining the Federation and strengthening unity and solidarity.

“Hence, addressing non-compliances to the stated agreement is crucial. We must always remember there is no Federation of Malaysia if there is no Malaysia Agreement,” he said.

He said many Malaysian leaders including government administrators had not given due respect to the importance of MA63.

Ongkili said widening frustrations and unhappiness especially among younger Sabahans and Sarawakians were real, especially now that there was wider space for expressing discontentment and easy access to all sorts of information.

He said the real history on the formation of the nation must be corrected and included in the school syllabus, apart from getting the relevant information published widely.

The economic and social gaps between Peninsular Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak must be bridged, he added.

“We need more Sabahans and Sarawakians in the federal development planning agencies so that our own people are involved hands-on to deliver planned development to people here, especially those in the rural sectors.”

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