The time calls for changes
The Borneo Post - Sun, 16 February 2003

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M says social transformation inevitable as State surges to high-tech development

ENDORSEMENT... Dr Dimbab (left) witnesses the signing of the SDGA constitution by Taib (right)

SANTUBONG: Social transformation is inevitable as the Sarawak progresses towards technologically advanced development.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said social transformation was bound to occur even though it was considered a complex process touching the sacred feeling of the community.

"The rural status quo - where the community is reluctant to move from an area although there are opportunities available-elsewhere - got to be challenged," he said at the opening of the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) yesterday.

He said although tertiary education was available to all the pace of advancement in technology, especially in the developed world, was colossal.

"Social transformation that is going to engulf us is going to be very big," he said.

Taib said this was due to opportunities available everywhere to improve the livelihood of the people.

"Opportunities do not recognise distinction. It is the ability to utilise it," he said, adding that the higher level of change could only come about through social engineering.

Reflecting on the process of development in the State, the Chief Minister said it was based on a strong foundation that can support all communities, and to avoid too much politicking along the way.

He said too much politicking could be detrimental to the wellbeing of a nation as happened in other countries that had based itself on politics of emotions only to see failure in its development efforts.

"They emphasised too much on personal popularity or the dominance of a certain race," he said.

Taib also felt that it will be disastrous if leaders did not give the proper support and guidance in achieving the process of development.

He observed a similar trend of political scenario happening in Sarawak before he took over the State's leadership in the 1980's.

At that time, he formulated an idea on how to develop the State - to take action rather than talk by pooling all the available manpower into productive outcomes.

"This is the Politics of Development because of the ethos of the 1980's," he said.

Emphasis was on development rather than politicking ensured that the agenda benefit the people who had trusted the government in delivering development and prosperity.

At the same time, the Politics of Development was implemented by setting aside factors that could cause the rift among the people.

"Politics of development is a big call in trying to be serious in development and to unify as well as to meet the expectation of the people," he said.

Taib said by identifying the basic problems, the government had a clear picture of what affected the community.

"Under the new reality concept the process of development is still running giving benefits to the community.

"It should be able to eliminate the fear factor among the people," he said, adding that the lack of resources for development should not be a stumbling block in harnessing the State's potentials.

He said the government was trying to look for the economic forces to be harnessed in order to get the momentum of development moving.

A formula was later worked out by the creation of political mass, the birth of rural growth centre policy - looking for potentials in order to combine the manpower with the potential of an area," said Taib.

Touching on the formation of the SDGA, which has more than 1,200 members, Taib said knowledge was the real mover and considered as a versatile form of wealth.

Among all professions, he cited engineers as the people who can contribute to greater social transformation.

He, therefore, urged current professionals among the Than community in particular to interact with the people and to recognise the opportunities available for them.

At the function Taib pledged RM50,000 to SDGA to finance its activities.

The main thrust of SDGA's objectives is the desire to help its members and the Dayak community to progress to be on par with other Malaysians.

SDGA president Associate Professor Dr Dimbab Ngidang also spoke at the function.