BINTULU: Malaysians must work and stand together as one in the pursuit of developed nation status, Prime Minister Datuk seri najib Razak said yesterday.
“We should learn from our past where those who colonised us, divided us and made us weak.
“If we stand together, we will continue to be stronger. and the sarawak people understand that by being part of a bigger family and part of Malaysia, there is so much more to gain,” he said in his speech at the nationallevel
49th Malaysia Day celebration here last night.
Najib said he was pleased with the cooperation and support from Chief Minister Tan sri abdul Taib Mahmud and the state government.
He said the good working relationship with the Federal Government was the hallmark of sabah and sarawak’s significant progress since gaining independence through the establishment of Malaysia 49 years ago.
“Why do you think there are other states that are not as developed as sarawak? it’s because (certain) other state governments prefer to politicise issues instead of working together with the Federal Government.
“When we understand each other it is easier to appreciate sarawak’s aspirations and to provide what is needed for the development of this state.
“The decision by leaders of yesteryear in both states to join 11 other states in the Malay peninsula to form Malaysia on sept 16, 1963, was the foundation of today’s success.
“I think none of the people of sarawak and sabah today will say they have made a mistake in joining Malaysia,” he said to thunderous applause from the 20,000-strong crowd at the site of the old Bintulu Airport runway.
Najib added that the additional projects that had been approved for Sarawak since he took over as prime minister were indicative of the government's sincerity.
"I can safely say on behalf of the government, and the chief minister as the state leader, that we will continue to deliver for the people of Sarawak.
"It is because we are one country and one big family that when one part of our family is struggling, we will all struggle together."
The Malaysia Day celebration was most significant because for the first time, it was being celebrated on a large scale in Sarawak.
Earlier, Taib said Sarawak would never have gone far if it was not for the federation.
"We did not even have enough funds for our own security back then, what more to develop ourselves. In those days, we really wanted to move forward, and forming Malaysia was our best hope."
During the ceremony, national hero Warrant Officer I Kanang Langkau and others were given the honour to raise the Jalur Gemilang.
Najib also presented Tokoh Hari Malaysia Award to three figures who did their part in nation building.
They are Sarawak's first local-born police commissioner Tan Sri Hamdan Sirat, national artist Ismail Embong and Sabah's sixth chief minister Tan Sri Harris Mohd Salleh.
Others present were Najib's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.