Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,


All praises to Allah Subhanahu Wataala as with His will and grace, today we welcome Hari Raya Aidilfitri. On behalf of my wife Faridah Haji Tussin and our family, I extend Hari Raya Aidilfitri greetings to Muslims in Sabah and throughout Malaysia. We are blessed in Malaysia as we greet Hari Raya Aidilfitri in peace and harmony, with citizens always striving to uphold unity and understanding. Some Muslims are unable to welcome Syawal or do so with very little due to war, poverty and other reasons. Let us keep in our prayers those who observed the obligatory fast in Ramadan with great challenges and ask for Allah SWT to protect those who work tirelessly in areas of strife to bring food packages and medical relief despite risking their own lives.   


The holy month of Ramadan renewed our ability to practice patience and abstinence, as we went about with our daily duties. Muslims congregated in mosques each night and spent time to be thankful for all that we have been bestowed with. Ramadan was also a time to increase our good deeds through charity and may we continue to help those in need at other times of the year. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a time to seek forgiveness from family and to strengthen ties not only among Muslims, but also with Malaysians from all walks of life through the practice of exchanging greetings at open houses.     


In Sabah, we sincerely respect each other despite coming from diverse cultures and backgrounds. It is my hope for Sabah to continue serving as a model for Malaysia when it comes to unity and harmony and to set an example that progress can be achieved even if we do not share the same beliefs. I wish to take this opportunity to call on Malaysians in Sabah to uphold peace and harmony that we enjoy today. Moderation and acceptance are attributes that we should focus on in a world that is threatened with extremism.


As a responsible government, Sabah is working hard to implement programmes and projects that have been earmarked for the people and our sustained growth as we move closer towards 2020. We work closely with the Federal Government and other stakeholders such as the private sector to ensure that our focus on key sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture and tourism benefit Sabahans in the long run in terms of quality jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. These include the Sabah-led Halatuju or Development Agenda, Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), all of which are being pursued with other policies including the 11th Malaysia Plan. For issues that crop up along the way as we implement these programmes, let us seek workable solutions. We are always open to discussing issues in a transparent manner.


I encourage civil servants and the relevant stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of plans and programmes and to translate policies into meaningful work on the ground. This is especially important in bridging regional gaps within Sabah and in increasing income levels among the people. We must address weaknesses that hamper us from delivering the best to the people and this includes ensuring better education opportunities. Skilled and knowledgeable workers will bring Sabah to the next level in becoming a State that is competitive within Malaysia and beyond.


Security remains a priority and I wish to thank the Royal Malaysian Police, the Armed Forces, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and other security agencies for their commitment in keeping Sabah safe. Our sovereignty must not be compromised and I assure you that we are always in close contact with security agencies on the best strategies to keep Sabah secure. I seek cooperation of the people to not provide shelter to those who have bad intentions and to immediately inform security forces if there are individuals or groups that behave in a suspicious manner. For members of security forces who are on duty this festive season, I thank you for your dedication. I hope you will soon have a chance to meet your families, and enjoy a belated celebration.


While we rejoice during this celebration, we must also remember the less fortunate. I am happy to note that various groups and individuals continue to bring cheer to those who are disadvantaged such as orphans and single mothers. Through Berbuka Puasa events, and presentation of Duit Raya or gifts in the form of hampers and clothing, you have kept the spirit of giving alive.


Once again, on behalf of my wife and family, I wish the people in Sabah “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.  Maaf Zahir dan Batin.”  Thank you.