Thursday, July 7

‘We want to retire but…’


Taib admits age catching up with him and Jabu but successors not forthcoming

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS: Taib and wife Puan Sri Ragad Waleed Alkurdi (left) with Jabu (second right), Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas (fourth right) and others arriving for the function.

BETONG: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday reiterated that both his deputy Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and himself were both willing to call it a day if only they had found qualified people to take over from them.

“We are both getting old and if there are people who are truly qualified to lead the state, we are more than prepared to go but we cannot let go of our responsibility just like that,” he said.

He said what was most important was to ensure that the state could continue to prosper because that was actually what the people wanted.

“There is nothing more important than to develop Sarawak into a fully developed state because that was the wish and hope of our leaders when they agreed to form Malaysia.

“I was one of the politicians then and I cannot forget the wish of the people who at that time had hoped to improve their living standard through independence and because of that, up to now, I am still looking for ways of how we can develop the state and the country,” he said.

Development of topmost importance, says CM

Speaking at the launching of the community leaders’ seminar here yesterday, Taib said that everyone in Sarawak, for as long as they could think, would certainly agree that development was of topmost important to the people.

“There may be other important things but nothing is above the agenda of development,” he pointed out.

Nevertheless, he said, in the quest of the developing the state there could be those having political differences and it was the responsibility of the community leaders who understand better the direction and policy of the government to explain to their people on the ground.

“Don’t let the rakyat change their way of thinking and start to get distracted from the state’s main struggle,” he urged.

Taib said that the state was however fortunate to have community leaders who have understood and realised the expectation of the young generation who wanted to be better off than their forefathers.

“In those days the per capita income was only RM600 per person but now it is already about RM30,000 per person. When I first took over as Chief Minister in 1981 until to date the income per capita had increased by seven times.

“This shows that we have achieved part of what we have struggled for but we cannot be satisfied with what we have already achieved. Because of that we do not want our policy in Barisan Nasional (BN) to be wrecked by unhealthy politicking,” he stressed, adding that there was no other party in the country, apart from BN that can bring development to the state.

“We need not mention about developing….they may not even uphold the political stability and without stability there is no way the state can progress,” he disclosed.

He said that the community leaders therefore should use the seminar to re-examine deeply the topmost struggle of the present leaders of the BN and should not let it be destroyed and weakened by issues that were based on emotions to make people angry, more frustrated and more disappointed just because of petty things.

“The basic thing is this …Malaysians are far better off than any other countries that have gained independence except for Korea and Singapore. Therefore, if we want to progress we must not deviate from our thoughts of wanting to develop.

“Because of that I want all community leaders who know very well the aspiration of the people to play their role more efficiently since they are more knowledgeable by having better under-standing about what is happening in the state,” he disclosed.

He reiterated that politics must be the catalyst for development and not to ruin the state because if that happened it will be the rakyat who suffer.

“In view of that, we as leaders must be able to think wisely and practically. We should be able to know what are our top priorities,” he added.

He said in any election what was most important for us is to ensure that the future of the rakyat can improve and not to be ruined.

“If we want the state to progress further we must look at the issues that can develop the people. We all know that the state had achieved so much but we should not be satisfied with what we have.

“Instead we should strive to achieve even more and because of that the government had implemented the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which will be able to provide one million job opportunities compared to only a million for the whole state at the moment,” he said

He said if in those days people had left everything to fate, now they should understand that they can achieved so many things through their own efforts.

“This however could not be achieved by the opposition because they never thought about developing the country except thinking about how to take over the government unlike the BN government.

“In the BN government our focus is still in developing the state and nation. We are never satisfied with what we have got because we know that there are still a lot more to be done to change the lives of the rakyat for the better,” he concluded.