KUCHING: The people of Sarawak are now politically mature after 58 years since the state was granted ‘self-government’ status by its colonial masters.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg noted that the people’s awareness on the democratic system has improved.
“If we compare between now and those days in the 1970s, we can see that they have maturity and understanding in politics.
“To me this is one of the achievements that we have obtained and one which we can be proud of,” he said during an interview in the Ghazpirasi talk show on TVS.
Abang Johari said Sarawak had faced various challenges during its formative years after obtaining the ‘self-rule’ status.
“After independence, firstly, the financial position of Sarawak was not strong, secondly we were facing communist threats as well as the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation.
“We also faced issues as the people were not familiar with the concept of real democracy and finally, the education level of the people was not high. These are among the problems that we faced,” he said.
The chief minister said from 1963 to 1970, it was an era where the people were still trying to understand the meaning of independence.
“By 1970, then Chief Minister Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub initiated a policy to help the people through the Sarawak Foundation along with the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC).
“Through the Sarawak Foundation, we were able to send our children to further their studies using the funds allocated.
“Presently, we can see those who have received help through this initiative are now holding important positions (in society),” he said.