Saturday, January 1, 2011
Text Courtesy : Jabatan Ketua Menteri Sabah
Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera.
On behalf of my wife Faridah Haji Tussin and our family, I wish to extend a warm greeting to all Malaysians as we welcome the New Year. As we move into the New Year, let us reflect on our successes and challenges in the year that has just ended, celebrating our achievements and learning from difficulties. I hope that Sabah will continue to grow, and its people will see more development in the coming year. I also hope that peace and harmony will remain as values that Malaysians in Sabah continue to hold on to as we move ahead.
Over the last year, there were a number of programmes initiated by the Sabah State Government and the Federal Government, aimed at making our State a better place to live in. We acknowledge that bridging the divide between rural and urban areas is important, and remains high on our agenda as part of efforts to truly push for holistic development. We want to see every citizen included in development. Sabah remains committed in reducing poverty through a number of projects, building more roads and other important infrastructure like schools, apart from improving power and water supply in rural areas. We did not use the uncertain economic climate at global level in the past year as an excuse to halt our efforts to develop Sabah. With the slow but sure recovery of the global economy, we will be able to strengthen our efforts to bring progress to the people, especially the poor.
The State Budget that I tabled in November 2010 put aside a third of the RM3.07 billion allocation for developing much needed infrastructure and utilities. The Budget is a continuation of Sabah’s plan to achieve further development, and aims to complement several initiatives introduced by the Federal Government. These include the New Economic Model, National Key Results Area, Economic Transformation Programme and the subsequent National Key Economic Areas. To take part in Malaysia’s economic growth, Sabah must build its own capacities so that we are able to play an effective role in Malaysia’s overall development.
The Tenth Malaysia Plan which starts this year is another continuous development programme that Sabah remains committed to, and is looking forward to implementing. The Sabah State Government will work with the Federal Government to carry out identified projects, and we will place emphasis through the Tenth Malaysia Plan to further improve livelihoods of certain segments of society, such as farmers, fishermen and livestock breeders. I must ask everyone in Sabah, especially civil servants who are directly involved in the implementation of the Tenth Malaysia Plan, to give their undivided support so that objectives and plans that have been outlined, can be met effectively, ensuring success of the whole initiative.
We are already implementing programmes under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) blueprint, which outlines in detail steps that Sabah is taking until 2025 to become a leading economic region with its strategic location, natural resources and clean environment. Tourism, one key driver of the SDC is growing, along with the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. We are on the right track and I commend the hard working and committed people entrusted with the task of carrying out important projects, and those who provide support either from within or outside Government. I thank civil servants who have remained dedicated to their tasks, and I hope you will continue to contribute to strengthening the civil service. I must also thank the private sector that has continuously invested in the State. Your role will increase in years to come, as envisaged by the Economic Transformation Programme.
We will also continue to pay attention to providing education to the people of Sabah, as we know that human capital development plays a key role in progress. There are a number of education institutes in the State, and we are also setting up an education hub in Sandakan so that people on the east coast have an alternative if they do not wish to travel to Kota Kinabalu to pursue their education. I must also take this opportunity to encourage the people of Sabah to practice life-long learning, and this includes taking up diploma and degree courses at tertiary institutions on a part time basis. Sabah is blessed with natural resources and we must strive to add value to raw material, and this can only be done if we have knowledgeable and skilled workers.
I also wish to touch on political stability which is an important factor when we talk about development initiatives. Programmes planned by the State and Federal governments require political stability and cooperation of all political parties within the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The strong bond of Sabah BN partners was reflected during the Batu Sapi by-election on 4th November, 2010, when we retained the seat with a thumping majority, no less due to commitment by every coalition member. All elected representatives have also been reminded to reach out to grassroots and to find out problems that the people are facing. This is in line with the 1Malaysia concept that the honourable Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak introduced after he took office. Through his 1Malaysia website and Facebook page, the Prime Minister himself is getting feedback from the people on what matters most to them. Positive steps like this will propel Malaysia forward.
In the New Year, I call on all Malaysians in Sabah to support efforts of the Government so that we can increase our competitiveness in a globalised world. We must remain united in putting our strategies and plans to work for the benefit of all.
On this note, on behalf of my family and my colleagues in the State Government, I take this opportunity to wish all Malaysians a prosperous and Happy New Year 2011.
Wassalamuallaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakattuh and Selamat Sejahtera.