Sabah is an exemplary state for “Keluarga Malaysia”, says Liew31/12/2021
KOTA KINABALU: As we bid adieu to a challenging year, marked by hardship and suffering of the masses, let us welcome the New Year 2022 with new hopes and aspirations towards building a Malaysian nation for all communities in the country, said former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
Given the multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural character of Malaysia, the Tawau MP said all Malaysians must cherish our racial harmony and be respectful of religious sensitivities as freedom of religion is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Against this backdrop, Liew believes that Malaysia can be a truly united nation with a tolerant society if everyone unequivocally accepts diversity as a pillar of strength, and not made a cause of divisiveness.
In this regard, she said the concept of “Keluarga Malaysia” (or Malaysian Family) is laudable, and should be internalised so that it does not remain an ideal or a mere rhetoric.
In her New Year message, Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, said : “The oft-repeated phrase ‘No one is left behind’ that we read about in the media or hear on TV is what is espoused by the Federal Government. Inclusivity as preached must be put into practice at all times. It has to be felt by all Malaysians, regardless of gender, race and religion.
“The Government must uphold its pledge of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ so that the principle of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ is seen to produce the desired results.
“To realise the vision of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ (which is to revive the country and achieve the status of a developed and high-income nation), all Malaysians must embrace the values of mutual respect and understanding, and tolerance for differences as well as exercise restraint in our statements or actions to avoid hurting the feelings of compatriots.”
Sabah is indisputably an exemplary state for the concept of “Keluarga Malaysia”, Liew added.
At this juncture, the Api Api Assemblywoman asserted that the question of abolishing vernacular schools does not arise at all, saying these educational institutions have contributed enormously to nation-building.
“Any unwarranted call for their abolition should be put to rest as this blatantly contradicts the concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia.”
On the recent significant amendment to the Federal Constitution to restore the “equal status” of Sabah and Sarawak with the Peninsula in tandem with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Liew reiterated that this reinstatement must be translated into reality.
For the philosophy of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ to be a culture, she said, any execution of the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) with the theme “A Prosperous, Inclusive, Sustainable Malaysia” should start addressing the economic and development disparities between East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia for equity of growth and development.
“What matters most is tangible result. It is a legitimate desire of the people to enjoy equal treatment, and this is achievable through a just and equitable sharing of resources and economic wealth by the Central Government, and providing bigger financial allocations to equally benefit both the East Malaysian states.”
Saying Sabah looks forward to being granted a higher level of autonomy through devolution of power, Liew recalled that during her tenure as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, she had repeatedly urged the Federal Government to empower Sabah to issue the various tourism-related licences for operation of the tourism industry. “I had also raised this concern in the Dewan Rakyat in 2019,” she added.
Meanwhile, she hoped the State Government would continue to provide food basket aid to those in need, as assured by the Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being, “as some might have been inadvertently left out.”
“‘Little Napoleons’ out there should not attempt to thwart the Government’s efforts. Fundamentally, the people’s welfare comes first and it transcends all political ideologies. Let there be no preoccupation with politics at a time when disadvantaged people are struggling for survival and need material support,” Liew said, without elaborating.
In conclusion, she expressed her appreciation to the medical and enforcement frontliners for their selflessness in combating the coronavirus and saving lives, and maintaining peace and security, respectively, since March 2020.