KENINGAU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor called upon the people of Sabah to focus on developing the state and not to be distracted by differences that will only set them apart. 

“Unity and cooperation are very important and they should not be dismissed as something petty. In Sabah, our rakyat of different races, religion, and beliefs have all co-existed in harmony for generations. 

“Inter-marriages have seen families of varied races and beliefs as one big family and we have been able to accept and respect each other. At every festive occasions, like today’s launching of perayaan Pesta Kaamatan we all come together to celebrate. 

He said from young, we grew up accepting this fact. Hence, I find it very dangerous if anyone or any quarters try to subvert the unity that we have cultivated and fostered for generations. 

“Let us always remember that it is unity in diversity that has allowed us to co-exist in harmony and to respect and accept each other,” he stressed. 

Speaking at the launching of the State-level 2022 Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) at the Keningau Handicraft Centre near here on Sunday, Hajiji said he will strongly oppose those who use racial, religious and even political sentiments to destroy the existing harmony among the people of Sabah. 

In this respect, Hajiji urged the people to work and move forward together with the GRS BN Government and do the best for Sabah. Let us focus our sights to develop Sabah and not be distracted by differences. 

He said the people gave GRS the mandate to helm the government and we wasted no time getting to work. The strategic five-year development riadmap, the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) was launched and today we have put plans into action robustly for the interest of the people and the State. 

“We are seeing that the high impact development projects with foreign and local investors are bearing fruits. These are the SK Nexilis copper foil production, the Kibing innovative glass manufacturing and Linaco’s high-yield coconut plantation project.

“These are not exhaustive. In fact other development plans and projects are work in progress and several are in various stages of implementation. This is testament that we can plan, pursue and achieve what we want if we put our minds and efforts into what we have set out to ,” he said. 

Pesta Kaamatan is an important celebration for Sabah, particularly the Kadazandusun Murut and Rungus (KDMR) community as well as other ethnicities in Sabah and I hope this celebration will continue to be the platform to celebrate culture & foster unity among the people,” he said. 

“With the Kaamatan spirit, together we will boost our rice and other agriculture produce output. The State Government has allocated RM561.81 million for agriculture, which is a productive sector in preparing food for the people, jobs and businesses as well as raw material supply for the manufacturing sector, he said. 

The Chief Minister said all efforts have been taken to ensure Sabah doubled up its current food production by 2030 and he was glad to note that the Agriculture and Fishery Ministry has succeeded in modernising and doubling padi crop harvest in Sabah under the leadership of Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.  

Hajiji said Sabah’s first Agriculture Production Collection (APCC) will be opened next month to cater to the demand for 50 million metric tonnes of high-value agricultural produce such as fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers. 

The State Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen Day (HPPNS) celebration that coincided with the Pesta Kaamatan launching today was to show appreciation to the farmers, breeders and fishermen in Sabah for their contribution to the state’s economic growth, he said. 

The HPPNS also aimed at showcasing the technology as well as new initiatives or research done by the government departments, agencies as well as the private sector that can be adapted in the modernisation of the agriculture sector. 

Also present were Pesta Kaamatan 2022 Main Organising Committee Chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is also Deputy Chief Minister, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, KDCA President and Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, State Secretary Datuk Seri Panglima Sr Safar Untong, District Officer cum organising chairman Walter Kenson, elected representatives and community leaders. 

Ends