KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal says Sabah’s racial harmony must be preserved while the government focus on development to bring prosperity to all segments of society.
At the Mooncake Carnival 2019 at the city’s Foh Sang township, the Sabah Chief Minister said it was important for the people to ensure unity and harmony with everyone playing a role in developing the state.
“We all must give more focus on the development of the state while ensuring the unity among the people are preserved,” he told a large crowd who turned up at the annual festive celebration at suburban Luyang here on Saturday night.
“The government of today is not from one particular racial or religious ethnic group but from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious groups that reflects the unity of the people,” said Shafie, whose
multi-racial Parti Warisan Sabah leads to the state coalition.
As such, he said people must focus energy on developing the state as the time for politicking was over.
“We urged the people and all its leaders to focus on the state’s development and betterment now and the time now is for politicking,” he said.
He also raised his concerns over certain “irresponsible” groups who push religious and racial agendas to divide the people for their own selfish gains.
“In Sabah, we must remember that we are unique because various religious, racial and ethnic groups are present within our own families.
“So raising issues of race and religion should not be used to break up the people just because certain groups have ulterior political agendas,” he added.
Shafie said that Sabah was well poised to move ahead with plans to further develop the state’s oil and gas, agriculture and tourism.
He also touched on the construction of the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) which he said will be completed in December, and would be ready for use in 2020.
He said the project was carried out by the Sabah Foundation during the previous state government in 2015, but the construction was completed at only 60 per cent when the new government took over.
“Upon completion, the SICC will contribute not only in terms of basic facilities but also for state’s tourism sector and development,” he added.
Shafie also disclosed that the Warisan Sabah-led government has the recipe for the state’s development.
“Apart from seeking 20% oil royalty, we have identified a lot of other resources to increase our revenue for our state budget (2020) when it is tabled in November,” he said, adding that agricultural products like vegetables would be focused for export.
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong, Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick and the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide.
Mohd Shafie said he was confident of Sabah becoming a developing state because of its various resources.
He said Sabah does not belong to only a certain ethnic group, but a common property that has to be well-maintained with the people strengthening the unity to ensure peace and harmony.
“All Sabahans have to work together with all races because is our country and our state,” he added.
At the function, Shafie also presented RM100,000 cheque as state contribution for the carnival organisers headed by state Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe, who is also the Luyang assemblyman.
Some 60 stalls were put up for the celebrations that saw hundreds of people turn up where a variety of cultural shows marked the evening.