KUALA LUMPUR – Sarawak made the right decision when it chose to participate in the formation of Malaysia with Sabah and Malaya in September 1963, said Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Abdul Taib, who was Sarawak’s fourth Chief Minister for 33 years until 2014, said that decision had brought many benefits to Sarawak, especially in terms of development and modernisation.
“It is unlikely that the progress enjoyed by Sarawak is as vibrant as it is today if it chose to become a separate country and choosing to jointly form Malaysia has made Sarawak a stronger and more prosperous state.
“It is undeniable Sarawak and Sabah have gained many benefits for being entities in Malaysia,” he said at the Syarahan Negarawan Negeri Sarawak event in Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka here today.
He said the development being enjoyed in Sarawak at present was also the result of economic developments taking place in Peninsular Malaysia.
Abdul Taib was confident the future of Sarawak in Malaysia is guaranteed, adding that bilateral ties between the state and the federal government were very cordial and any differences in policies and opinions should be addressed through consultations.
“The question of cooperation between the federal and state governments is no longer a hot political issue as in the past. It is a practical matter that must be dealt with through negotiations.
“As far as I can see with my own experience, the cooperation between federal and state is very good. We don’t have any major problems that it can lead to confrontation or create policies that are discriminating.
“As such, depending on our wisdom in pursuing our politics, the integration of Malaysia will go on and not in a way that is too open that non Malaysians can take advantage of it to ruin these ties,” he said.
Touching on the ethnic pluralism and social fabric In Sarawak, Abdul Taib said the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) government would continue to focus on the politics of development as the main thrust of the BN leadership.
He said to face the future and ensure a sustainable state economic growth, Sarawak had opened up opportunities for young Sarawakians to improve their skills in order to venture into a new economy as a result of the existing economic spin-offs and more sophisticated industries.
In order to move into that direction, Taib said efforts to restructure the education system in Sarawak that inclined towards technical learning also needed to be undertaken in tandem with the industries’ requirement for a highly skilled workforce.
“This is one matter that is not controversial if we plan a generation earlier through good policies in the field of education,” he added. – BERNAMA