Dr Abd Latiff (left) and Henry (on Dr Abd Latiff’s left) plant a tree at Risda office during the event.

KUCHING: Closer ties between the state and federal governments will benefit the people in the long run, said Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad.

He said the federal Perikatan Nasional (PN) and its Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) counterpart in Sarawak would enhance co-operation between Malaya and Sarawak.

He noted that the people in Sarawak would soon be deciding on their state government currently under the able leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg through GPS.

“On when the election is, that is not for me to say. That is the chief minister’s prerogative. But when the time comes, I hope the people will choose to have continuity between the state government and federal government, which in the end will benefit the people,” he said.

Dr Abd Latiff said this when officiating at the launch of a Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) office in Kota Samarahan yesterday.

The federal minister had earlier paid a courtesy call on Abang Johari at the latter’s office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here. Commenting on the visit to the chief minister, Dr Abd Latiff said it is a meeting between two old friends.

“I have known Datuk Patinggi (Abang Johari) for close to 30 years so I have a personal relationship with him, it is important that we have this relationship besides our position in the government.

“Sarawak is also the first state that I have officially visited (in the capacity of Rural Development Minister). The other states, I have visited unofficially, I have visited PN states and the Opposition states,” he said.

Dr Abd Latiff also said it is important in terms of rural development to have a deputy minister from Sarawak for the Ministry, referring to his deputy, Datuk Henry Sum Agong.

“Back then it was Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (as deputy minister). I believe the close ties between GPS and PN component parties will benefit the people,” he said.