KOTA KINABALU: The State Cabinet led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal has the most number of Chinese ministers and assistant ministers in history.
Minister of Health and People’s Wellbeing Stephen Wong Tien Fatt said there were now four Chinese ministers and four assistant ministers in the State Cabinet.
“This is only possible as a result of unity among the Chinese community.
“We will strive to live up to the expectations and bring better changes to the Chinese community,” he said when gracing the ninth anniversary celebration of The Federation of Guangdong Associations Sabah here on Sunday.
The event also saw the fourth installation ceremony of the Executive Committee cum the second installation ceremony of the Youth and Women Committees.
The federation comprises 13 member associations from Sabah and is also the 40th member of The Federation of Kwang Tung Associations Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Stephen believed that Chinese community associations would support the new government’s policies and worked closely with the administration to safeguard the interests of Chinese community.
He also said that Chinese associations should put aside political and religious differences to preserve and develop their education and culture.
On another note, he said 70 per cent of the Chinese population in Sabah originated from Guangdong Province, China.
He said these descendants eventually formed their own associations such as Hakka, Teo Chew and Sze Yap Associations to provide welfare to their members as well as offer academic incentives to members’ children.
Some larger associations have also progressed to building schools, including Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School by Kota Kinabalu Hakka Association, SJK(C) Hing Hwa, Tawau by Tawau Teochew Association and Tenom Tshung Tsin Secondary School by Tenom Hakka Association.
Meanwhile, Stephen said The Federation of Guangdong Associations Sabah president Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen’s contribution to the Guangdong community had been recognized not only in Sabah, but also by the People’s Government of Guangdong Province in China.
Last year, Susan was selected as a recipient of the ‘Global Top Ten Outstanding Cantonese’ award at the Global Conference of the Cantonese last year, he said.
He also urged Cantonese associations that have yet to join The Federation of Guangdong Associations Sabah to do so.
On the other hand, Susan pledged to acquire an office unit for the federation as soon as possible.
She said her predecessor Datuk Jimmy Yong Kyok Ming had built a good foundation during his six-year tenure and had raised over RM200,000 for the goal.
She thanked all the sponsors who have contributed to the association’s aspiration to own an office and its activity funds, including the life honorary advisor Tan Sri Andrew Liew Sui Fatt.
Now in her fourth year of leadership, Susan vowed to do her level best in helming The Federation of Guangdong Associations Sabah.
She said the federation was established in 2009 with the aim to unite the Guangdong clan associations, including Hakka, Sze Yip, Kwong Siew and Teo Chew.
She said the association also participated in events organized by the Chinese government, including the ninth Conference of the World Guangdong Community Federation held in Vancouver, Canada on May 26 this year.
Susan added that the 10th edition of the Conference of the World Guangdong Community Federation would be held in London next year.
Also present at the event were Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Hiew Vun Zin, Assistant Minister of Trade and Industries Ben Chong, Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament Chan Foong Hin, Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe, Likas assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt, The Federation of Guangdong Associations Sabah life honorary advisors Datin Seri Panglima Chen Si Mui, Tan Sri Joseph Lo and Henry Kong, The Federationof Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) president Tan Sri Dr T.C. Goh, JP, honorary advisors Datuk Seri Winston Liaw, Datuk Clement Yeh, Datuk Wong Ten An, Datuk Chee Chi Seng and Kapitan Li Su Fook.