Working together as a team

At attention: (From left) Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Hajiji, Abang Johari, Anwar and Mohamad Asfia along with other dignitaries standing up for the national and state anthems at the Malaysia Day celebration at the Unity Stadium in Kuching. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

Captivating: People performing at the national-level Malaysia Day celebration at Unity Stadium. —BernamaCaptivating: People performing at the national-level Malaysia Day celebration at Unity Stadium. —BernamaKUCHING: The love and affection shown by the people of Sarawak and Sabah to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong during their Kembara Kenali Borneo tour shows that Malaysia has come a long way since independence, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister said the reception given to the King and Queen on their journey from Tawau in Sabah to Telok Melano in Sarawak from Sept 3-13 was amazing.

“Without exception, everyone from all races and backgrounds came out to welcome Their Majesties.

“On Thursday, I had an audience with the King and he was still very touched by the love and affection of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said at the national-level Malaysia Day celebration at Unity Stadium here last night.

Anwar said that the audience left him with a heavy burden, as the King handed over to him all the letters and petitions he received during the tour.

“I will direct the government to study each letter and we will try to resolve all the issues raised.

“Whatever we can’t solve, I will pass to (Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri) Hajiji Noor and (Sarawak Premier Tan Sri) Abang Johari (Tun Openg),” he said.

Anwar also praised the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state governments for supporting the Federal Government in the interests of unity and stability.

“We choose unity because our people come from diverse races and religions.

“Only when we are united and stable can we move forward and improve the economy,” he added.

Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government to restore the rights of Sarawak and Sabah as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Sarawak might be accused of being parochial in our demands, but the people of Sarawak only want Sarawak’s rights and have no wish to grab the rights of others,” he said while affirming again that the GPS will fully support the unity government until the next election.

“Although Sarawak and Sabah are demanding several matters under MA63, it doesn’t mean we can’t work with Peninsular Malaysia to strengthen unity,” he added.

Acting Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar was the guest of honour at the celebration, themed “Malaysia Madani: Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan” (Determination in Unity, Fulfilling Hope).

A pre-event show kicked off yesterday evening as singers entertained the crowd with popular tunes.

Anwar later signed the Malaysia Day special book, witnessed by Abang Johari and Hajiji.

The celebration’s highlight was the Segulai Sejalai musical, which portrayed the journey of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah from the pursuit of independence and formation of Malaysia to the present day.

The musical involved a 150-member cast of actors, dancers, singers and martial artists.

For the finale, Iban singer Gabriel Fairuz was joined by other artistes to perform the Segulai Sejalai song which he composed for the Malaysia Day celebration.

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