Phoong: Sabah and Sarawak must join forces to develop youth, sports in view of Indonesia’s capital shift

Phoong (fourth left) presenting a souvenir to Abdul Karim. Also seen are (from right) Ong, Hii, Ting, and Snowdan.

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by Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 5: Sabah and Sarawak need to work harder to ensure the future of the two Borneo states, especially for youth and in sports, considering that Indonesia will be shifting its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan.

Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe emphasised that Sabah and Sarawak must pick up their pace especially in developing youth and sports.

“There are a lot of things Sabah and Sarawak need to work on to ensure the future of the our states because the future development is in Borneo when Indonesia shifts its capital to Kalimantan,” he said.

He made these remarks in a press conference after paying a courtesy call on Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at the latter’s office in Baitulmakmur Building here today.

“There are many opportunities and potential apart from trade. So if we can pick up now and well (sic), I think we can ensure Sabah and Sarawak will be the potential development hub for our young people and younger generation,” he added.

As such, Phoong pointed out that both Sabah and Sarawak have to work closely together to face the challenges ahead.

He is leading a 17-member Sabah delegation on a working visit to Sarawak to learn from, exchange experience and explore approaches on matters related to sports and youth, especially in management and operations.

Phoong, who is making the official visit as a minister for the first time, revealed that the discussions between the two ministries had been fruitful and productive.

“Other than on the setting up of the East Malaysia Sports Commission, we also discussed Sukma and the possibility of the two states hosting international events. These are the things we have to work closely together on,” he said.

Echoing Abdul Karim’s views on the close bond between Sabah and Sarawak, he added: “When it comes to sports and youth, we talk about unity. We want to work together for the betterment of youth and sports in the two states.

“It is this strong friendship and family bond we have that led us to bring such a big group here for the top level meeting and communication. It is an extraordinary meet-up and it means a lot to both our states,” he emphasised.

For the betterment of youth and sports in Sabah and Sarawak, Phoong said it was crucial to forge solidarity and better friendship to achieve the best outcome.

The Sabah entourage included Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Arunarnsin Taib, the ministry’s permanent secretary Neldin Gimbang, Sabah Sports Board chairman Dr Tan Kah Hock and his deputy Ir Lau Kim Swa, and Sabah Sports Council director Mohd Asneh Mohd Noor.

Sarawak Assistant Minister of Youths and Sport Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kii, and Sarawak Sports Corporation chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Ong Kong Swee were also present. — DayakDaily