KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — West Malaysia must learn from Sabah, Sarawak because they have preserved their strong racial unity and religious harmony, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.
He said the strong racial and religious harmony tradition which had been the strength of the East Malaysian states, has rarely been discussed.
“It is the peace and harmony enjoyed by the people, that makes Sabah, Sarawak special and I feel we in the Peninsula should learn about their progressive harmonious and unifying efforts in building a multi-religious and multi-racial society.
“Malaysians should be exposed to the diverse and colourful society as there are fine examples which we can follow,” he said when appearing as guest speaker on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme entitled Merdeka Jiwa Raga: Malaysia Prihatin which was aired tonight.
On the Sabah for Sabahans and Sarawak for Sarawakians sentiments, raised by some quarters including political parties, which is seen to have affected the feelings of patriotism among the people in the two states, Saifuddin said this could be due to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as to them, the contents have not been implemented.
“However, the government has already stated its willingness to settle the issue, if not all at once, at least a large part of it and both the Sabah, Sarawak governments are aware of this,” he said.
According to Saifuddin, he was aware that the matter was often raised, especially in the run-up to a state election where political parties would try to polemise the issue.
“What’s important is we have to get the right message across on what the government is doing for Sabah and Sarawak.
“There are times when our politicians make inaccurate statements to make it look as if Sabah and Sarawak are being marginalised,” he said.
While admitting that the two states have somewhat been left behind in terms of education and infrastructure development, he said, efforts are being made to improve and upgrade these facilities.