Hannah Yeoh: Who says I have no respect for Sarawak?

Hannah Yeoh

KUCHING, Oct 1: The Deputy Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Development Hannah Yeoh today countered her critics by emphasising that there was no truth to what the local media in Sarawak had been saying about her not respecting Sarawak.

Yeoh reiterated that during the forum ‘What is our role in Malaysia Baru?’ organised by Malaysia for Change, Sarawak (MOCS) here, she spoke extensively on the future of young Malaysians, especially issues concerning child protection, childcare policy, education and poverty.

“I have also said that we must guard this Malaysia Baru fiercely because it took us a lot of hard work and a long time to get here. Rebuilding Malaysia would require unity for everyone to work together. Malaysians have long been divided by race, religion and now region, with sentiment such as Sarawak for Sarawakians.

“We need a Malaysia Baru that focuses on us being one,” she said.

She noted that because of her remarks at the forum, the local media in Sarawak roasted her for not respecting Sarawak.

“This is far from the truth,” she lamented.

Yeoh pointed out that for the very first time, the federal government intended to recognise Sarawak and Sabah’s rightful place in Malaysia.

“I am in complete support of all efforts being made by the new Pakatan Harapan administration in recognising and enforcing the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). Malaysia is a federation — three regions as one nation.

“If we intend to see this being realised in its purest form, then every region in this federation must commit to being one. Any sentiment or political rhetoric that seeks to isolate one region and exclude her people from the greater nation, be it Sarawak for Sarawakians or Sabah for Sabahans for that matter, it cannot be healthy for nation building,” she said.

Yeoh said as a deputy minister, she had travelled to Kuching not just to speak at the forum but also to meet stakeholders in Sarawak who handled customary child marriages in order to learn and to gather feedback.

“This is the true essence of respect. I am convinced that with this Malaysia Baru that we have, we need new strategies to fix old problems. Repeating the same old methods will not yield new results,” she said. — DayakDaily