The prime minister's Malaysia Day speech today includes a promise for better rural development in the two states.
KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Najib Razak has given the assurance that the rights of Sabah and Sarawak will continue to be preserved.
He said a special committee to study the rights of the Sabah and Sarawak people had been set up to ensure that the interests of the two states were protected based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“We will discuss as one family. There is no necessity to make the slogans ‘Sabah for Sabah’, ‘Sarawak for Sarawak’. We want Sabah for Malaysia and Malaysia for Sabah. As such, we (Malaysia) will progress.
“The decisions (of the special committee) will be made soon to distribute the rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said during the national-level Malaysia Day celebration at the Likas Sports Complex here.
Present were Sabah Yang Dipertua, Juhar Mahiruddin, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Chief Minister Musa Aman, and Sarawak Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak and other federal and state leaders.
Najib said Putrajaya would continue to respect and appreciate the decision of Sabah and Sarawak to merge with Malaysia.
He said the federal government was also constantly trying to ensure that Sabah and Sarawak are developed on par with the other states, adding that the RM30 billion Pan Borneo Highway from Teluk Melano to Lawas in Sarawak and from Sindumin to Tawau in Sabah was part of this effort.
“The highway without any toll charges is our gift to the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
He also said that the Federal government would pay special attention to build more rural amenities in Sabah and Sarawak.
He said a special grant for electricity supply specifically for Sabah and Labuan amounted to RM2.295 billion.
“And, what is less known to the people is that there is an element of hidden subsidy approved by the government through Petronas when for the electricity supply in Sabah the gas price is only RM6.4 per million British Thermal Unit (mmbtu) compared to the RM22.7 mmbtu price in Peninsular Malaysia.
“This year alone, Petronas gave a subsidy of RM390 million to reduce the electricity tariff rate in Sabah.
“This is among the assistance we provide to Sabah and we want to ensure that Sabah and the people in the state would continue to enjoy the best protection,” he added.