The text of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s Chinese New Year message is reproduced below:
Sarawak, as we know is a multi-racial country, not only in terms of originalities but in terms of our way of dealing with each other; we are getting closer to each other. Our understanding of the ways of each other more and more from time to time enables us to come closer together as we move forward. That is the reason why I feel Sarawak or Malaysia as a whole has been given the opportunities of being recognized as a unique multi-racial country since Independence.
But since the Chinese have been building up the country to become more prosperous through hard work and co-operation and in a unique way through their own small associations; they work together in a big movement to understand how economic life in country can be built up by the efforts of all individual races.
Of course, in terms of economic, the good policy guidance, from the government, which Sarawak has been lucky to have since Merdeka, in fact even before Merdeka, has been able to evolve an economic policy, which has been able to give the country greater prosperity and more importantly to get the Rakyat to be involved in the efforts of development.
The people have been able to enjoy the fruits of hard work and the success of each community, through well organized and relatively more advanced commercial practices. The Chinese, for example, have been able to bring to Sarawak more orderly development. As we can see, Sarawak has a more orderly distribution of employment opportunities and the close relationship between all the races.
The trend towards a more prosperous society, which benefits not only the commercial class but all levels of the society, will be continued as Sarawak moves forward to become a not only a developed State but the richest State in the country towards the year 2030. Undoubtedly, we have been able to add in greater measure in Sarawak, Malaysia as whole, efforts to expand economic activities to become much more organized.
We have been able to rope in more and more people with real talents to make them more effective in economic development so as to enable everybody to benefits from the fruits of development. Thanks God, after many decades of working together, all the races in Sarawak, Malaysia in general, we have been able to build a pattern of economy that enables us to bring about a greater distribution of wealth even to the remote community, who used to be rural dwellers through the widespread benefits of education among children to play greater part in economic development.
As we can see today, although not completely, at least the trend now is quite strong that every race will benefit from whatever greater achievements that the country will be able to get through the development of resources and the co-operation between all races. For example, we are getting the choice of better people to do the work according to their ability rather than the old ways of relaying on our own racial associations.
This change in our midst has brought about greater unity among the people, greater co-operation between the races and much greater deployment of talents and skills and the ability to expand economic activities mainly through the consolidation of traditional economic base and developing the prosperity from simple agriculture into much more economic activities.
The process used to start from almost the activities in rural areas all the way to the roles of the people in developing the market for local products of Sarawak or Malaysia in general. That is the overall picture that we ought to understand in either complex or even in its simplest form.
We are beginning to see the buildup of our multi – racial society where greater interactions among the people of various races in almost all their economic functions of the economy. The rural area is functioning very well. No longer can the people say that the development of rural areas is only trying to help the Natives; it is just like a gift from the Government to the people.
But now that kind of feeling is no longer there. Generally, the people understand the more prosperous the country becomes the more flow of economic activities drag the people into the shell that share the prosperity. Look at our rural areas today, they have been producing not only the agricultural products or primary products but have been able to produce human capital for development.
Undoubtedly, the rural areas have been able to produce thousands of well educated people, who are beginning to play much greater roles in the development of the economy unlike in the old days when mainly Chinese got involved in commerce and Bumiputras mainly in agriculture
The development of our economy is getting more sophisticated. The kinds of work that will grow from the development of the integration of our economy will benefit more and more races and greater co-operation among them. Today I can say the country is developing from Kuching all the way towards the North.
Now we can see even Lawas that used to be the isolated corner of Sarawak has become a place where rural people can find opportunities to upgrade themselves gradually into taking up commercial practices, commercial activities that make the people, who are natives and non natives of Sarawak.
Over the last 50 years these are the general trend, which we are sure, will benefit all people. The trend is going to intensify itself in the same pattern and bring together much more closely the Chinese, the Malays, the Ibans, the Bidayuhs, the Orang Ulu, all to be conscious of the fact that the country is getting more prosperous and the opportunities for their children Are much more varied and much more rewarding than before.
This is in fact what I have tried to impress all the races in Sarawak as the transformation of the development of the country. Alhamdulillah, we have achieved a great deal of it with greater promises for the future. I am now very confident that our country will take more straight forward steps into much more sophisticated economy with expanded role in the external market and drag in people of various talents and skills into the greater and modern work force of Sarawak and Malaysia.
This is development in its rough analysis and its roles in modernizing our community and opening up opportunities to all races namely Malays, Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu. This trend is going to continue and will get more sophisticated. The people who are going to make this to happen will be people from all the races. No longer, they depend on their connections because of relatives, because of various racial groups but more and more on the ability of our people to pick up greater skills and knowledge to move the economy that becomes more modern, spreading all the way through from Lundu to Lawas to benefit more and more people.
That is the Sarawak or Malaysia, which we have been dreaming of since more than 50 years ago. Now we are able to see it happening. It is beginning to unfold although not all the people have understood it; but at least all the people whether they are Malays, Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu can feel there is a change in their livelihood.
We can ask ourselves what else do we want from our country; obviously, we all want continued ability to make use of opportunities to become the prosperity of all the people comprising Chinese, Malays, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulu and other people, who will probably come in to share our growing prosperity.
This is what I want all the people to understand when we review our position from time to time. During the Chinese New Year, when I have the opportunity to talk I will reveal this bit by bit to all people, to all races, not only to the Chinese, so that they know we have been on the right path economic development based on the agenda to become a developed State by the year 2030.
Undoubtedly, we have put the country on a proper footing of economic development and that the transformation of development has involved all races. Happy New Year to all my Chinese friends and also my non Chinese friends, who celebrate it almost the same way as the Chinese in the Sarawak way.
GONG XI FA CAI.