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KOTA KINABALU: The love shown by the people of Sabah towards Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah during the Kembara Kenali Borneo tour is a manifestation of their profound love for Malaysia.
When met by Bernama, many of them explained that the King is the Supreme Head of the Federation of Malaysia. Therefore, the affection reflects the loyalty of Sabahans to the people of Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia under Agong’s reign, and Malaysia as a whole.
A representative of Ketua Anak Negeri Kawang, Bashirin Min, said the people of Sabah from all corners of the state were willing to endure the scorching heat and heavy rains to welcome the arrival of Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah, which demonstrates their deep love for the country.
“We are fortunate to be under Agong’s umbrella. In his eyes, all his subjects are equal. His Majesty has also repeatedly expressed his love for the people of Sabah and this deepens our loyalty to Malaysia,” he said.
Bashirin, 75, said that Al-Sultan Abdullah’s demeanour should serve as an example for all leaders of Sabah and Malaysia, to enable progress of both the state and the country while strengthening unity among the people.
Lapasan village head Simon Ganjun said the people’s affection for the royal couple also showed that they upheld His Majesty’s decree that the significant union of the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak is the binding force that has shaped the Malaysian nation.
“His Majesty hoped to build a bridge of friendship that could strengthen the bond of unity between Sabah and Sarawak and the Peninsula through the Kembara Kenali Borneo tour. So our warm welcome shows that we want to fulfil that wish wholeheartedly,” he said.
Simon, 55, said it was clear that Sabahans want to continue to advance with Malaysia since the formation of the country 60 years ago, and as such, irresponsible parties should stop any provocation that could affect the relationship between the three regions.
For government retiree Sapar Sarikun, 67, from Kampung Baru, Papar, the willingness of Their Majesties to listen to the grievances of Sabah residents has touched the hearts of the people.
“Their Majesties are both concerned to the point of taking notes of the people’s complaints to voice them to the federal government. If the head of the country himself is willing to do that, of course, we will be more loyal and willing to endure hardships together with Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said he personally witnessed the love of the people of Sabah for Their Majesties when he became one of the accompanying ministers during the Kembara Kenali Borneo programme.
He said Their Majesties’ involvement in the expedition could strengthen the unity among the people, and he would support it if a similar programme is to be held in the future.
“I believe the programme has reflected the love and patriotism for the country and the King as the sovereign umbrella of the nation, not just for specific regions but for all citizens regardless of their background. Together, we find a common ground.
“This is a significant agenda that will ultimately lead us all in one direction to ensure the prosperity of our state and country while advancing development further. One way to achieve this is through the unity of the people,” he said.
In conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16, Armizan hoped that all Malaysians would continue to enhance unity and move together on a solid foundation to elevate the status of the nation.
The Kembara Kenali Borneo tour, which runs from Sept 3 to 13, starts in Tawau, Sabah and will conclude in Telok Melano, Sarawak, covering a distance of 2,154 kilometres along the Pan Borneo Highway that connects Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei.
The Malaysia Day celebration this year will be held in Kuching, Sarawak. – Bernama