Using race, religion to gain political support not good for the country - Abang Johari
MUKAH - The attitude of certain leaders who are willing to play up the issue of race and religion just to gain political backing is not good for the country, especially when Malaysia is facing various global challenges, said Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said this was because such desperate action could split the unity of the multi-racial community and distract the country from focusing on using all its resources to implement comprehensive development.
"In conjunction with this year's National Day celebrations, let us all strive to understand that the interests of the country should prevail over everything else.
"The country needs a strong government to shoulder the responsibility of planning a clear economic direction towards making Malaysia a high-income nation so that we understand the true meaning of independence,” he said at the 2023 Sarawak-level 66th National Day celebration at the Mukah Polytechnic Hall here today.
Malaysia, he said, has managed to diversify its economy from agriculture and commodity to an economy driven by manufacturing and services activities to become the main exporter of electric and electronic goods.
He said that based on the World Bank report, the country's economic growth has averaged around 5.4 per cent since 2010 and the country is expected to transition from an upper middle-income economy to a high-income economy by 2024.
"However, we must not be complacent and continue to 'bicker’ with one another because that will tend to take us towards division in terms of differences in religion and race or in terms of region.
"If we are suspicious of one another and are busy 'fighting’ as the late Tok Nan (Tan Sri Adenan Satem) said, then all our energy and thoughts will only be focused on defeating our rivals,” he said.
As such, Abang Johari said our appreciation of the struggles of former leaders is not just chanting the slogan "Merdeka” but to continue strengthening the spirit of unity and the spirit of mutual respect between the races so that the country can move forward with confidence and courage towards becoming a nation that is respected in this region and in the whole world.
Regarding Sarawak's economic growth, Abang Johari said the region's income had increased one and a half times to RM12 billion last year and has also been recognised by the World Bank as a high-income state with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of RM61,442 or US$13,205.
"However, we are not totally happy with this achievement because the people's household income stood at RM4,978 in 2022, it has yet to reach the national level,” he said. - BERNAMA