21 Jun, 2009

1Malaysia Is Alive In Sarawak


If what I have seen during my recent visits to Sarawak are any indication, the 1Malaysia concept is not only well-supported by the Rakyat, it is a way of life. Sarawakians exemplify what I mean by ‘Unity Through Diversity’, as they collectively honour the cultures and celebrations of their assorted ethnic groups.

It was a warm Thursday morning when I departed from Kuching by helicopter to visit an Iban village located along the Batang Ai river, yet the reception upon my arrival was even warmer. I wanted to visit the Lubok Antu area to give the community assurance that development promised to them by the government will be delivered. This includes the much-needed connecting roads around the area. The hosts were very hospitable; I had a memorable lunch at the house of the Ketua Kampung (Village Chief). Before leaving, I was happy to pose for photos with the hardworking villagers who clearly had been preparing especially for my visit.

The next stop was particularly meaningful. Some five months ago, I learned of my late father’s visit to a village in Serian to officiate a water supply project for the Bidayuh community living there. I have wanted to pay a visit ever since. On June 18th, almost 43 years since my late father walked a small path leading to Kampung Pichin in Serian, I noted that, among the developments in the area over the years, the path is now wider and able to fit a passing motorcade. I opted to walk the very same path my late father took.

The Bidayuh of Kampung Pichin certainly did not forget the day the 2nd Prime Minister came up the path to their village. I was truly touched when they presented me with a set of old photos taken on the day my late father visited Kampung Pichin. I shared these photos with my family. I thanked the villagers for their rousing support and reiterated my promise of greater progress to the Serian area and especially for the Bidayuh community (Tera tera tera!)

As I made my return to Putrajaya from a fruitful visit to Sarawak later that evening, I reflected upon the display of solidarity I had seen over the two days. Even before I had expounded the virtues and elements of the 1Malaysia concept, it had long been practiced by the people of Sarawak, whether living in the more developed towns and cities, or in the traditional longhouses and villages of their ancestors. At the same time, I reflected upon the importance of ensuring that both the federal and state governments, hand in hand, continue to push for development in all areas of Sarawak to achieve its goals and desires, as discussed with the Sarawak Chief Minister. I wish I had more time to meet with the state assemblymen; nevertheless, necessary action will be taken based on the dialogue we had.

1Malaysia is and will continue to be a dynamic process of national development. As an example, I will be making some liberalisation announcements at the end of June. Furthermore, there will be announcements on my 100th day of serving in office, specifically for the Rakyat and reflective of the concept “People First, Performance Now”. I hope you continue to support this concept, through your participation in my website, through your interactions with fellow Malaysians and others, and through the internalisation and practice of its values and principles in your daily lives.