SMJ goals will be achieved easily with support from federal unity govt – Hajiji

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Hajiji with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the closing of the congress on Saturday.

KOTA KINABALU (March 2): Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor is confident that with high political commitment and solid support from the federal unity government, the goals of Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) to promote the economic growth of the state and boost the Bumiputera community’s economy in Sabah will be more easily achieved.

Hajiji said that the SMJ’s policy, which aims to strengthen the agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors, aligns with the three proposed strategies to boost the Bumiputera economy, namely establishing Bumiputera land corporations, creating endowments for education, health and welfare, and industrializing agriculture.

“In line with this, the Six Commitments to Bumiputera Economic Empowerment introduced at this congress, especially the Second and Third Commitments to Close the Implementation Gap in Policies and Create Equality Between Regions/Races and Groups, are very timely,” he said in his speech at the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024 held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre on Saturday.

Hajiji expressed hope that any resolutions formulated from the congress will also consider the interests of the Bumiputera community in Sabah.

“I also hope that whatever approach is taken to empower the economy of Bumiputera in Sabah, it should be institutionalized under the supervision of the state government entity. This is to give Sabah the mandate to coordinate and lead socio-economic development programs efficiently, effectively and synergistically,” he added.

He also expressed high hopes that the national leadership under the unity government is genuinely committed to continuously advocating for the fate of the Bumiputera community throughout the country, including in Sabah.

“As the second largest state in Malaysia, with the Bumiputera population reaching up to 90 per cent of its total population, we in Sabah have very high aspirations to jointly enjoy the prosperity and economic progress of the country with all Malaysians.

“This not only supports the grassroots economy of Bumiputera in Sabah but also lays the foundation for a more inclusive and sustainable development model for the Bumiputera community. In other words, economic empowerment, especially for the Bumiputera in Sabah, must align with the development of key infrastructure as a primary enabler,” he said.

Hajiji stressed that the state government is committed to closing the poverty gap that has long affected many Bumiputera in Sabah and is determined to bring about changes in the lives of people who crave advocacy, especially those in remote areas.

“We no longer want to be left behind; in fact, we always hope that the prosperity cake can be shared in one big Malaysian family. Let us not make the South China Sea a separator or barrier to progress and shared prosperity,” he said.

In this regard, Hajiji disclosed that the state government’s vision is to ensure that efforts to empower the economy of Bumiputera in Sabah are institutionalized and gain recognition as a unique identity for Sabah in the Malaysian context.

“As we all know, geographical factors are one of the obstacles capable of slowing down the development process, and this happens in Sabah. It not only hinders economic growth and delays development processes but also limits the economic and social activities of the Bumiputera community, especially in rural areas.

“Additionally, developing a robust infrastructure network is crucial for Sabah’s economy, especially in improving connectivity between rural areas and urban centers. This not only supports the grassroots economy of Bumiputera in Sabah but also lays the foundation for a more inclusive and sustainable development model for the Bumiputera community,” he said.

“Therefore, I believe that by empowering the Bumiputera economy in Sabah through the provision of training, quality education, improving digital and financial literacy, and equipping them with the necessary skills, along with basic infrastructure facilities, they will be able to compete at the national level, if not on the global stage,” he concluded.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim officiated the closing ceremony of the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024.