PENAMPANG, Dec 7 — The unity government will continue to focus on resolving issues affecting the people next year, including poverty, dilapidated schools and civil servants’ salaries, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said it is important to focus on these matters to ensure that people of all backgrounds, religions and races can enjoy a more comfortable life.

He said poverty is among the basic issues that need to be resolved first because hardcore poverty is still a problem.

“Alhamdulillah, as of December, we have almost overcome this problem. There are still many poor people, I mean hardcore poor. We managed to settle this due to consensus and cooperation among ministries, officers at all levels, state governments, districts and mukim,” he said.

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Anwar said this when launching the national-level 2023 Hawkers and Petty Traders Day (HPPK) at Buhavan Square here today.

Themed “Penjaja dan Peniaga Kecil Nadi Ekonomi Madani”, the carnival was organised as a sign of the government’s recognition of the hawkers and petty traders community in the country.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, state Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, federal Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

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The prime minister said the opportunity for children including in Sabah to get a better education should flow with the country’s development wave and digital transformation, through the provision of more efficient and conducive school infrastructure.

“Last year, we wanted AI (artificial intelligence); we wanted change, digital transformation, energy transition. All these sound great but there are still dilapidated schools. We need to give opportunities for our children to attend comfortable schools. There should not be schools with broken walls, leaking roofs and damaged toilets,” he said.

He said apart from focusing on raising the salaries of civil servants next year, the government would also implement the Progressive Wage Scheme to push private companies to increase the salaries of their workers.

Commenting on the high prices of goods in Sabah and Sarawak, Anwar said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who is also the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council chairman, had been asked to set up a committee to study this issue.

Anwar gave an assurance that this matter would be resolved, including by providing subsidy allocations to reduce the prices of goods like chicken and rice, especially in Sabah.

At the same time, Anwar reminded Sabahans not to listen to politicians who make statements not based on facts.

“Don’t pay heed to the rhetoric of politicians. Politicians sometimes play on sentiments to attract support from the people. Sometimes they twist their statements,” he said. — Bernama