Najib celebrates ‘Gawai’ with Sarawakians
UPDATED @ 02:55:58 PM 03-06-2012
BETONG, June 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he decided to join Sarawakians today in celebrating the “Gawai Dayak” harvest festival to walk the talk that he is the prime minister for all the people and that the government cares for all Malaysians.
He said he needed to put into practice his desire to be the prime minister for all by proving that it was not merely a political statement or rhetoric.
Najib also said that his wish to be close to the people and bring about a balanced and equitable development had been translated into action, as proven by the allocation of RM2.3 billion during his walkabouts throughout Sarawak over the past three years.
“When we celebrate Gawai, we are celebrating a success story. We are not celebrating because we are a failure or a failed state but because we are successful in nation-building, economic and social development and in unifying this multi-racial cultural society of ours,” he told a 3,000-strong crowd at the Gawai Dayak open house at Dewan Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan, here.
At the function, Najib also approved a federal allocation of RM5 million for the construction of the Dayak Cultural Foundation headquarters in Kuching.
The prime minister also reminded the people not to gamble with the country’s future because the reality was that the opposition would not be able emulate the track record and achievements of the Barisan Nasional (BN).
“This is not the time to experiment (by voting for the opposition) as it will create more uncertainty. We must stick with what we have and what we have has been proven to be successful,” he said.
Najib said the government was committed to bringing the country to developed nation status with a high-income economy by 2020 based on a credible and in-depth roadmap.
In the case of Sarawak, he said, about 73 per cent of the total allocation announced during his walkabouts had been fruitfully utilised, with Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah as the coordinating minister.
Rural and Regional Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was also a frequent visitor to Sarawak to ensure that these development projects were implemented smoothly, he said.
Najib said the government’s pledge to continue delivering to the people was not an empty promise or an election promise unlike that of the opposition which would use all kinds of pressure as a political stunt.
At the open house, he gamely joined Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and other dignitaries on stage to sing “Wawasan Bekikis Bulu Betis”, the lyrics of which were specially composed by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu in the spirit of “Gawai”.
The prime minister’s description of the Gawai celebration as one of the nation’s strengths in diversity that was uniquely Sarawak was aptly showcased in the culturally rich traditional performances, including the “ngajat begawai.”
A farmer, Tarang Rimong, 53, from an Iban longhouse in Ulu Layar, about 40km from here, expressed his appreciation to Najib for having come down to meet the rural people.
Housewife Habsah Hamid, 42, said she was proud that Betong had undergone intensive development. One of her daughters, Nor Azrin Fazira, 16, was studying at the Betong Mara Junior Science College opened by Najib when he was the education minister. — Bernama