KOTA KINABALU: On behalf of the Sabah State Government, and my family, I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2016. The new year is often viewed as a time for fresh resolutions and an opportunity to plan for a better year, having reflected on achievements and obstacles in the past.
The Sabah State Government is one that constantly listens to suggestions made by the people and acts to respond in a timely manner. Consistent with this, the government of the day introduces policies and plans that would benefit the state and its people, and also supports the various transformation programmes introduced by the Federal Government.
Through economic and political stability plus the Sabah Government’s ability to be prudent, we are seeing an improvement how much the state has progressed. The State Development Agenda or Halatuju introduced 12 years ago was timely and has shown to be working with the emphasis on tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. Along the way, the Sabah Development Corridor was introduced and the focus has remained on these sectors, apart from encouraging the downstream processing of natural resources, such as oil and gas.
Projects that are generated via these initiatives are not only creating more local entrepreneurs, but are also helping generate a pool of knowledge workers. By creating more quality jobs locally, we can start to retain youths from Sabah who currently seek jobs in other parts of the country. There are many positive spin-offs that come from a vibrant economy, and one that is based on diverse sectors.At the same time, we are also committed towards safeguarding our environment as we appreciate the importance of what nature provides in terms of services such as clean air and water.
Sabah continues to enjoy a strong relationship with the Federal Government. It is a fact that the Federal Government is one that listens to our voices, and has taken the necessary steps to ensure that our needs are met. I wish to urge Malaysians in Sabah to refrain from being drawn into the agendas of certain quarters who claim that we constantly sidelined by the Federal Government. This is the most convenient battle cry for the opposition. It is even more sad for me to note that some have even resorted to fanning the people’s sentiments on calls for secession from the federation of Malaysia. This is an irresponsible action and must not be tolerated. For issues that need to be resolved, there are platforms that we can use to voice our concerns.
In November, Sabah announced a RM3.49 billion surplus budget for 2016. The State Government is on track to carry out projects and programmes under our development agendas. This is done through the upgrading of basic infrastructure, poverty eradication, enhancing quality of life and balanced regional development. The State Government pledges to continue being financially sound through some of the measures that are already in place.
I wish to call on us all to close ranks and to be focused in our joint agenda to develop Sabah. Do not allow parochial thinking to close our minds, as we need to work with the rest of the country in order to enjoy progress. I also call on all quarters in Sabah to cooperate with one another, and I urge the civil service to give its best in implementing plans and in ensuring the needs of all stakeholders are met.
I wish to take this opportunity to remind us to reflect on the devastating earthquake that took place on 5th June. Lives were lost and property was destroyed. This episode was a sad one yet it also showed us how people are willing to come together to assist when in times of need. It is my hope that we will always remain in solidarity, the way we stood united several months ago in helping people in the affected areas. To those who lost their lives, we once again extend our deepest condolences to their families. To the heroes who worked tirelessly, we are proud of what you have done and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We are also working hard to ensure our sovereignty is safeguarded. This is done through the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE). We must all throw our support behind security forces to ensure that our state will remain safe. We must also not allow anyone to belittle the sacrifices made by our forces in defending the sovereignty of of our nation including the loss of lives suffered during the Tanduo invasion, one of darkest chapters in our nation’a history.
For the New Year, it is my hope that Malaysians in Sabah will record achievements in your respective fields and ventures. Together, we can help transform our State and nation, and put us at par with some of the best countries in the world.
On that note, I wish you a Happy New Year 2016. – Sayanbsabah