KUCHING: Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar hoped that the recently announced 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) by the prime minister would help stimulate the transformation agenda in government and Parliament, as well as to reclaim the rights of people in Sarawak and Sabah as stated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said since independence, the people in these two states have been longing to enjoy development similar to those in Semenanjung Malaysia and hopefully under the 12MP, the people in Borneo will be able to see more progress taking place at an accelerated rate.
“This is the hard truth; more than 40 percent of the people in Borneo are still living in rural areas, lacking in basic facilities and infrastructure namely connectivity, communication, electricity, education as well as healthcare.
“As a Sarawakian-born federal minister, I am indeed hopeful that under the 12MP, more development and progress will take place in Sabah and Sarawak so that we will be able to enjoy the same facilities and infrastructure as the people in Semenanjung,” he said.
He added among the reasons why leaders in Sarawak and Sabah had agreed to be part of Malaysia in 1963 was because they were impressed by the system and well-planned development in Semenanjung Malaysia.
“This was the ‘unspoken promise’ to the people in Sarawak and Sabah upon joining Malaysia — that they too can enjoy similar development.
“Nevertheless, I am optimistic that the current government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is committed in developing these two states, which is one of the priority areas under 12MP,” he pointed out.
In the quest towards making Malaysia a developed nation, Wan Junaidi hopes that more attention would be given on sustainable development, where more focus can be given towards conserving the environment, protecting wildlife, and environmentally friendly mining activities.
In the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia, he also reminded the government to not lose sight of the people’s happiness level and to ensure everyone will be able to enjoy the benefit of the country’s economic growth
“Malaysia is a developing country and most Malaysians are living in urban areas. As such, it is timely for us to also look into issues concerning urban poverty namely affordable housing, improve social safety and a more effective poverty eradication programme,” he said.
He stressed that in pursuit to achieve economic greatness, it must be made sure that no one is left behind.
“In conjunction with this, I would also like to propose for the government to focus on development initiatives, beyond the Klang Valley area.
“There are many states in the country that are still not doing well, economically and it is time to help them out so that Malaysia can have a more balanced social and economic growth throughout the country,” he added.