Australian MP wants Malaysia to prosper

Where the heart is: Lim speaking about his life journey at Utar. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

SUNGAI LONG: He’s been living abroad for two decades, but Johor-born Australian MP Sam Lim says Malaysia is his “forever home”.

“I always tell my wife and politician friends that when I retire, I will come back and make Malaysia my home again,” he said.

Lim, 62, said he was rooting for Malaysia as he wanted to see the country prosper.

He added that he hoped to see the nation advance to greater heights under capable and talented people.

Thus, he urged young graduates to stay back and contribute to the country after they completed their studies.

“Make Malaysia your home, develop and build it to be an advanced country,” he said.

Lim became an MP from the Labor Party after winning the Tangney seat in Perth in Australia’s general election in May.

Yesterday, he gave a special talk at the Sungai Long campus of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).

Among those present were UTAR chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, his wife Toh Puan Ena Ling, and UTAR Education Foundation board of trustees chairman Tan Sri Dr Sak Cheng Lum.

Lim’s wife Lim Chew Yong was present too.

In September, Lim earned praises when he delivered his first speech in Australia’s Parliament partly in Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin.

That speech caught the attention of then Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who took to Twitter to say he felt proud when Lim spoke Malay.

“I wanted to show my gratitude to my tanah air in my maiden speech in Parliament. I wanted the public to know where I came from,” said Lim.

Lim, who was born in Parit Zing in Muar, said his dream of becoming a policeman became a reality when he was accepted into the Royal Malaysia Police in the 1980s.

However, he left the police force after two years for a higher pay to better support his family.

The eldest of eight siblings then went on to work as a dolphin trainer in a safari park in Johor.

Describing his dolphin training stint as the “happiest moment” of his life, Lim said humans could learn much from the animal.

“Dolphins are such genuine creatures. They can feel you. If you’re sad, they will comfort you and when you’re angry, they will swim away from you. Through them, I learnt to be more sincere,” he said.

In 2002, Lim emigrated to Australia with his wife and three children.

He decided to once again pursue his interests by joining the Western Australian Police Academy at the age of 45 in 2006.

During his time in the Australian police force, Lim was tasked with assisting the multicultural Asian groups.

He was awarded police officer of the year in 2020 for his work in pandemic outreach.

Lim said it was important for youth to actively seek opportunities.

“The young generation needs to be proactive instead of reactive. The opportunities will not come to you. Instead, you should always broaden your views and seek more opportunities,” he added.

Besides Lim, Malaysia has another representative in the Australian Parliament.

Penny Wong, born in Kota Kinabalu, was elected in 2002, representing South Australia.

In May, she was appointed Australia’s Foreign Minister after the Labor Party swept into power.

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