Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak receives a souvenir from Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (centre) and Deputy chief minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (right) during a dinner gathering with the state’s ethnic groups organised by the United Ethnic Bumiputera Council (MAGEPS) at Magellan Sutera Habour in Kota Kinabalu. Pic by MALAI ROSMAH TUAH

KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated his vision of seeing Malaysia placed among the top 20 nations in the world in terms of development yet at the same time, have its people live in happiness and harmony.

He said he did not want Malaysia’s progress measured only in terms of its per capita income, and that it should also measured by the level of the people’s happiness.

“A ‘happy rakyat’ means that we want to form a society that is at ease with each other, where there is mutual respect, and a willingness to help which transcends ethnic groups, culture and religion.

“If this is the spirit we have, then it wouldn’t matter as to how many ethnic groups we have. Look at Sabah, where we have 250 ethnic groups; there has never been any serious conflict among us,” he said.

Najib was speaking at a dinner gathering with the state’s ethnic groups organised by the United Ethnic Bumiputera Council (MAGEPS) at Magellan Sutera Habour here.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, Deputy chief minister cum Kadazandusun paramount leader Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, and State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Najib noted that there were certain individuals who would seek to try and jeorpardise the existing unity in order to achieve their personal agenda.

"These individuals only want political power and position. They have no agenda to develop Sabah and to bring the country to the highest level.

"Therefore, such personal desire should not be taken into consideration when we decide to choose a leader for the country. If we follow them, it will be our loss.

"They are consistently inconsistent and always make U-turns. We cannot depend of this type of person," he said.

Najib stressed that only a Barisan Nasional-led government can bring progress to the country, adding that he wants to see Sabah’s development on par with that of Peninsular Malysia.

He also expressed his commitment to return the rights of the Sabah people in his effort to develop the state.

At the event, Najib also announced a RM10,000 allocation to each ethnic association in Sabah through the Implementation Coordination Unit for their cultural activities.

Meanwhile, Musa in his speech, said only the BN government is sincere in assisting the ethnic groups in Sabah, including by providing allocations.

During the event, 67 ethnic group leaders, led by MAGEPS president, Datuk Abdullah Sibil, recited their pledges in support of the government.

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