Five decades have passed since Sabah joined forces with Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia, and in that time, it has achieved many significant milestones in terms of development, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“The landscape of Sabah 50 years ago was different from what it is today,” said Najib at the launch of the 50th Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Kinabalu on Monday night.
In terms of poverty eradication, the Prime Minister said that the state has seen a significant decline in poverty rate, from 58.3 percent in 1976 to 8.1 percent in 2012.
“By 2018, it is our hope that this figure will be reduced to 3 percent,” he said.
Sabah has also seen an increase in infrastructure in fifty years, but Najib concedes that infrastructure development requires much time and resources, as Sabah is a large state.
In terms of road access, the Government has built great lengths of roads in 50 years, from only 1,564 kilometres of road in 1963 to 21, 136 kilometres of road in 2012, Najib said.
“More developments will follow. We have not forgotten our promises to the people of Sabah,”
“I promise that the government will work hard to ensure that Sabahans will continue to prosper within Malaysia,” he stressed.
In his speech, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman stressed that in fifty years, Sabah has achieved development that not only changed the physical landscape of the state but also enhanced the people’s well being and quality of life.
“We are in a better situation compared to other countries that are of the same age as us, and even countries that achieved independence much earlier.
“A good cooperation between the Federal and State government has brought on a political stability that has enabled us to create a strong government with an efficient administrative system, and allowed various development programmes and agenda to be implemented,” he said.
Musa added that one of the state’s greatest achievements was its human capital development, which saw the establishment of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in 1994 that produced over 35,000 graduates in various fields.
He said he was also proud to note that the Prime Minister recognised Sabah as a prime example of a 1Malaysia community.
“With over 32 tribes and ethnic groups, Sabah will continue to maintain unity in diversity,” he said.
Musa also stated that the state government is committed to realise its visions and missions under the Halatuju in order to move Sabah towards becoming a developed State.
“This includes political empowerment based on the concept of democracy and power sharing,” he said.
Musa also stressed that in its move towards more development, to the state government is mindful of the need to practise sustainable development so that the present generation will leave behind a prized heritage for the future generation.