KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he made sure he was able to attend the closing of Sabah's Kaamatan Festival here.
The Prime Minister said he told Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor that this would show that the government cared about all cultures and traditions in the country.
He said it would also show the people that this is a new phase for Malaysia.
"Kaamatan is a special celebration not only for the Kadazandusun Murut Rungus communities but for all Malaysians in Sabah and throughout the nation.
"This is a people's event. We have ambitions for Sabah and Malaysia ... to be strong in education and its economy (among others) but remain faithful to their cultural and traditional roots.
"My presence symbolises that any festival celebrated is a shared celebration that must be respected," he said at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association's (KDCA) Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang near here on Wednesday (May 31).
Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin closed the festival, which was a grand showcase of Kadazandusun culture and custom, attended by some 5,000 people.
Also present were KDCA president and Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Deputy Chief Minister and KDCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and other state ministers, among others.
Meanwhile, Anwar said the Federal Government would help resolve basic infrastructure issues in Sabah, particularly on water supply and road conditions.
"I have decided to have a high-level meeting Thursday (June 1) morning to resolve the water issue with the state government.
"The allocation for road repairs (from the Federal Government) was also the highest for Sabah.
"We have asked for immediate action to implement the Pan Borneo Highway project and damaged roads," he said.
Anwar also had words of praise for Hajiji for being a chief minister who cared about development for Sabah.
"When I arrived just now, he (Hajiji) was still discussing projects for the people.
"He was asking if there were additional projects for Sabahans, not like others who met me asking if there were projects for themselves," he said.