KOTA KINABALU: Former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia called on all quarters, leaders and the people alike, to emulate the attitude and character of past leaders to ensure that unity in the country continues to be preserved and intact.
The 67-year-old veteran politician, who hails from Kota Belud, Sabah, said the charisma of past leaders such as the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and former Sabah Chief Minister Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun managed to foster unity among the people in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
Pandikar Amin said the two important figures in the formation of Malaysia played a significant role in promoting and strengthening unity, adding that they were able to resolve Sabah-related issues, particularly the State’s claims, harmoniously without the need to ‘shout’.
“They didn’t have to yell or ask for help loudly because they understood each other’s body language. A whisper is enough,” he said during an interview with Bernama and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
The United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) President said unity is closely related to development and any disparities between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula could hinder efforts to foster unity if nothing is done to address it.
Pandikar Amin said the visit by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to Sabah during the “Kembara Kenali Borneo” programme recently was crucial for His Majesty to personally witness the development disparities so that efforts to close the gap could be realised.
“So, if we look at unity from the perspective of development, it is certainly difficult to unite because the development gap is already too wide. Therefore, I hope the current government can make efforts to narrow this development gap,” he added.
Asked about the influence of social media, especially among the younger generation, Pandikar Amin said social media brings more harm than good in efforts to strengthen unity in Malaysia.
“Social media is uncontrolled. Most of the information we read on social media does not reflect the actual situation. In fact, what we read often pertains to fabricated issues and mostly fake news that can erode unity among the people,” he stressed.