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Aspirations of Sabahan youths towards Malaysia

Sabahan youths are optimistic that Malaysia will one day stand up much stronger and that national development can be implemented without a hitch.

16 Sept 2021

By Ilona Andrew and Jacquline Ebit

KOTA KINABALU: Today marks the second year that Malaysians are commemorating Malaysia Day - an important historical event where former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, joined the Federation of Malaya to create the Malaysian Federation - while grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Looking back to a year ago, it seemed like we were winning the war when daily numbers were down to single digits. Unfortunately, today, confirmed nationwide infections have breached the two million marks with an average of 15,000 cases reported daily.

In a span of one year, Malaysians have witnessed and waded through so many hullabaloos such as health, economic and political crises, all at once, while the pandemic has gone more raging than ever before.

As the Malaysia federation commemorates its 58th establishment today, Malaysians continue to cross their fingers in hope that soon, the pandemic will be a thing in the past.

And despite all the hiccups that the country has faced, Sabahan youths are optimistic that Malaysia will one day stand up much stronger and that national development can be implemented without a hitch, especially in Sabah.

For 28-year-old Kevin Larson Galono, he aspires to see more Sabahan leaders become important policymakers of the country in the Malaysian Cabinet.

Kevin Larson Galono

He said, more Sabahan leaders deserve the front rows as the state has been contributing towards the national development in great measures.

It must be mutually agreed that the state should be acknowledged as a major contributor to Malaysia’s economy, he added.

“The state’s contributions, in return, should be celebrated with development funds and modernisations that are equal to ones that are received by other states. In fact, there should be more for Sabah in accordance with its size and population.

“In my opinion, Sabah has not achieved the progress that is in line with Malaysia’s vision. In fact, Sabah lags so much behind in terms of its development compared to other states,” said the substitute teacher who hails from Kg Pahu, Tuaran.

Kevin explained to Nabalu News that Sabah has been treated very unfairly as can be seen through its underdeveloped standard facilities that bear the age of at least 20 years behind compared to other states.

He expressed worry that the young generation in Sabah would continue to be provided with low technology development in the coming years while other states embrace modernisation.

“My suggestion is for Sabah to be the first capital in technology development. The state should be given priority in this area as it is still largely contributing to the national economy.

“If Sabah has nothing else to contribute in the future, what will we be getting then? Sabahans are getting smarter and the state’s economy is rapidly growing, but it will lose everything if it continues to be underdeveloped while high-ranking positions continue to be monopolised (by other states),” he asserted.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old doctorate student emphasised the prosperity of the economy, political stability as well as the return of foreign investors post-pandemic to help strengthen the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate in the country, as his aspirations for a better Sabah.

Adi Jafar also hoped that the people’s economy can be further enhanced through more effective price control of goods, improved employment opportunities and conducive work environments, as well as better-planned urban constructions, especially in rural areas.

“It is also my sincere hope that some special policy formulations be discussed, amended and gazetted promptly. Among the policies and plans that need to be streamlined are ones related to housing or secondary town development in Sabah. The unaffordable prices of houses have made the community’s productivity in Sabah less encouraging.

“I also hope that the 2022 Sabah Budget will include financial stimulus or tax relied incentives for traders, including those involved in the gig economy, as they have been severely affected by the pandemic,” he said.

Apart from that, Adi noted that his great hope also lies with government agriculture and livestock agencies in improving policies to ensure food security in the state.

“The pandemic through the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) saw a lot of agricultural and food supply wastages. Such matters should be taken into account and improved,” he added.

The State Government should prioritise the welfare of Sabahans as well as domestic development and not just the interest of political parties, Richard Tan warned.

Richard Tan

The 26-year-old reckoned that the high poverty rate in the state, despite being endowed with abundant natural resources, reflects the failure of state leaders in terms of management and administration.

“With the rate of hardcore poor and GDP per capita below average, Sabah is undeniably still far from reaching the status of a developed state. In fact, Sabah is one of the poorest states in Malaysia.

“The people of Sabah must be united when choosing leaders – based on their high leadership qualities and integrity. We must change the culture of electing leaders based on political parties.

“In addition to that, the State Government should also emphasise the importance of quality and relevance of education system by providing basic infrastructure and internet network, especially among rural communities.”

Another fellow Sabahan youth that wishes to see Sabah driven in a better direction in various aspects is one Jemmy Amanda Sipatau from Kota Marudu.

Jemmy Amanda Sipatau

According to the 26-year-old, this is to ensure that the Malaysian citizens, especially in Sabah, get to optimally experience and enjoy the guarantee of national development, namely in the economic and social sectors.

While she opined that Sabah has advanced a lot compared to the previous years, for a state that is rich in natural resources, it still lacks developments compared to states in the peninsula.

“There is a need for Sabah to have inter-regional development planning that is equal with other states in the peninsula, such as in the aspects of economic and infrastructure developments, especially in rural areas.

“The emphasis should be on the internet network, human capital development, as well as education and health facilities … The direction of ‘Sabah Maju Jaya’ development plan should be realised successfully, as it is not just a mere slogan,” said Jemmy.

James Tumbil, 29, asserted that Malaysian society should progress scientifically and be more forward-thinking.

James Tumbil

Instead of just becoming consumers of technology, the youth who works in the finance department said Malaysians should also become contributors to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future.

“I hope that Malaysia’s aspirations and visions to become a developed country will be achieved in the near future.

“I believe that we aspire for a nation and society with strong moral and ethical values, liberal democracy, high-mindedness, as well as fair economic distributions regardless of race and religion backgrounds,” said James from Kota Belud.

Clementina Jaimin, 34, hopes to see Malaysia produces leaders that are more ethical with high integrity.

Clementina Jaimin

“For this purpose, it is the responsibility of relevant parties to instil a disciplined culture in every family institution in Malaysia as the value of one’s integrity begins from basic family upbringing.

“The country will thus be more developed if the leaders and the people inculcate integrity and dependability in their work or daily lives,” she said.

Her hope for Malaysia Day this year is so that Sabah remains harmonious as it has been since the beginning and for Malaysia to continue progressing towards proficiency in various areas, especially health and education sectors, and be able to compete with other developing countries.

Audrey Diane

Just like Clementina, Audrey Diane aspires to see a stronger and more improved health and education system in the coming years.

For her, these two aspects are crucial for Malaysia to progress and be as capable as other advanced countries.

Exhausted of the crisis in Malaysian politics, Alvin Dylan said his wish is to see a country with political stability and leaders that are more focused on boosting the national economy.

Alvin Dylan

“In times of great uncertainty, Malaysian politicians should unite and work hand-in-hand for the best interest of the rakyat.

“I certainly commend the historic memorandum inking on transformation and political stability between the Government and Opposition recently. This should have been done much earlier for the benefit of the people.

“Such unity will reflect on the Malaysian society which in turn will engage in the development of nation more effectively and efficiently,” the 25-year-old youth from Kinarut stated.

To develop Malaysia holistically, interior areas that lack basic facilities should first be taken into account, said Fazlee from Kundasang.


“There should be more developments in the interior of Sabah. This way, the economy in Sabah would be more durable thus contributing to a better Malaysia.

“In Sabah, important sectors such as tourism should be boosted. I believe that this important sector will prosper again post-pandemic era.”

Veronica Nicholas, 25, aspires to see more youths in universities be involved in the fields instead of just focusing on examinations.

“With real-life experiences in the fields, this will professionally help students better understand what they are really studying and which areas the knowledge should be practised.

Veronica Nicholas

“I also hope that Malaysia will continue to advance and develop and that industrial revolution and digitisation that are taking place around the world be implemented rapidly.”

For 22-year-old Maegan Fletcher, the only way for the state and country to move forward towards a more holistic future is to accept that mistakes were made and to do its best to rectify them.

“I hope that future leaders of the state and country would put their people first. Specifically, I wish for upgraded roads and infrastructure as well as internet connections especially in the rural parts of Sabah and Sarawak.”

While each of them has different aspirations, they all agreed that what they are proud of being a Malaysian is having the privilege to live in a multicultural yet peaceful country.

They celebrate the country’s Sovereignty this year, these youths pledged that they will bring more empowerment in the society for a better Malaysia.


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