FRUITS OF INDEPENDENCE: Its diverse ethnic groups reap development, progress through unity
KUCHING: SARAWAK, together with Malaya, Sabah and Singapore, formed Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.
Composed of various ethnic communities living peacefully and harmoniously, the "Land of the Hornbills" has made great progress in the 49 years it has been a part of Malaysia.
Its people have benefited from the development and progress in the country.
Sarawak Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said Sarawak was one of the rapidly developing states in Malaysia, as was proven by its ability to tackle poverty among the people.
Sarawak folk were not only on a par with those from other states, but they were also successful.
"We have reaped the benefits of the fruits of independence and we can move further if we maintain our unity and continue to cooperate with each other."
Adenan advised the younger generation not to belittle and disregard the unity in Sarawak. Instead, he urged them to work towards preserving it.
He said there was no other ethnically diverse country in the world that had achieved as much progress as Malaysia.
"Our success has become the envy of people in other nations", he said at the "Significance of Independence" seminar, held by the Sarawak Foundation, here, recently.
Adenan called on the younger generation to study the nation's history to avoid being influenced by "outsiders" and bring disrepute to the country.
"To move ahead, we must know our history and be aware of what is happening."
He said the state was fortunate to benefit from physical and human resource developments.
Adenan added that the opportunities provided by the government, including those in the education sector, had allowed Sarawak folk to improve their socio-economic status.
"Due to the educational opportunities provided by the government, it is now possible for the young generation to hold professional jobs.
Jefri Anak Kirang, 47, said: "Sarawak people are fortunate to be administered by a government which is responsible and concerned about the issues affecting them."
He also said the government had provided many facilities, including the 1Malaysia shops and 1Malaysia clinics, apart from the 1Malaysia People's Assistance programme and education assistance funds to assist the people, particularly those from the low-income group.
Muhamad Zaini Hassan, 37, who is from Johor, said he was impressed by the unity shown by the people in Sarawak.
Zaini, who has been working in Sarawak for five years, said this had become the pillar for Sarawak's success.
"Sarawak folk are unique as they cooperate with each other regardless of their ethnic origins and religious beliefs," he said, adding that since moving to the state, he had yet to witness any misunderstanding over trivial matters among the people.
"Sarawak people are role models for Malaysians in terms of the 1Malaysia spirit and pillars for the nation's resolve to achieve progress."
With a population of almost 2.5 million, Sarawak has 11 divisions -- Kuching, Sri Aman, Sibu, Miri, Limbang, Sarikei, Kapit, Kota Samarahan, Bintulu, Mukah and Betong.
Sarawak is rich in natural resources such as gas, petroleum, timber and oil palm.
It also possesses manufacturing, biotechnology and energy sectors, such as the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (Score). Bernama