Friday, May 22, 2009

No 1M’sia without Sabah, S’wak

The 1Malaysia concept may not be realised without the involvement of Sabah and Sarawak youths, Sabah Youth Council (MBS) president Mustapha Sakmud said.

He said special attention needed to be given to the youths from the two states because it was “sad to see that there are still Malaysians, especially youths, who are not on par with their counterparts from other parts of the country”.

He regretted that this happened although Malaysia is now about 46 years old.

Mustapha said physical development in Sabah and Sarawak, particularly in the rural areas lagged behind that in the peninsula, adding that basic amenities like water and electricity supplies were equally lacking and more funds needed to be made available.

“Basic educational facilities to educate Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak, in particular in the rural areas, are still very poor.

“We feel sad when we see the condition of the uniforms these children wear to school.

“Many of them in their desire to acquire knowledge have to walk to school over mountainous terrains and muddy and dusty roads,” he said when speaking as a member of the panel at the 2009 National Youth Convention at MITC in Ayer Keroh, Melaka recently.

He said the socio-economic status, poor infrastructure and many other negative factors resulted in the dropout rate among students in the two states to be higher compared with other states in the country.

“If this situation persists, how can youths in Sabah and Sarawak compete with their counterparts in the peninsula who have all the infrastructure and facilities.

“This will widen the gap between them in terms of educational achievement and skills and eventually their way of thinking,” he said.

He feared that if the problem was not addressed, the youths from the two states would feel discriminated against and if that was the case, it would not be possible to achieve the objectives of the 1Malaysia concept.

He said in principle, MBS agreed and supported the concept, adding that the definition should be based on the country’s history and the formation of Malaysia.

He said Malaysian youths in the two states did not want any quarters to disregard history.

“We don’t want any concepts or ideas put forward by the leaders to be interpreted based on the present day understanding just to maintain power without referring to the conditions and basis for the formation of Malaysia,” he stressed.

He said important issues such as the social contract, especially the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputeras should not be questioned in the name of equal rights and social justice.

He said the special position of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the constitution needed to be safeguarded and maintained.