KUCHING: The younger generation must emulate their forefather’s spirit in serving and sacrificing for the nation in the last 50 years to ensure Malaysia continues to prosper.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said everyone must realise that the responsibilities of independence had yet to be fulfilled despite the nation having achieved independence 50 years ago.

“The expectations that came with the formation of Malaysia still have to be fulfilled due to rising expectations, which has no bounds within our society. We have to remind the people that our achievements over the past 50 years are struggles which are not yet finished.

“Therefore, as a reminder and guidance, the spirit to sacrifice and to serve, as demonstrated by past generations, should be continued into the future.

“Let the spirit that has given us tremendous success as part of Malaysia in the last 50 years continue to guide us to achieve success within the next 50 years,” he said at the commemoration of the state’s independence from colonial rule at the Kuching Waterfront here yesterday.

Also present at the event were Head of State Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin and wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah.

The chief minister said the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1963 was RM550 million. It is RM108 billion today.

Per capita income was RM688 back then, but is now RM42,000.

Over the past 50 years, unemployment rate dropped to four per cent and poverty rate is only 2.4 per cent at present.

Taib said healthcare had improved with clinics in most rural areas. The same applies to education.

About 95 per cent of the rural population have access to clean and treated water, while 24-hour electricity has reached 83 per cent.

Taib said the younger generation must excel in their studies, and parents must give them the needed push in education.

He added technical education would grow in importance in the coming years, and that developed nations had demonstrated the need to possess at least 33 per cent skilled labour. –Sumber

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