KOTA KINABALU:Former Sabah state secretary Simon Sipaun, 76, said he decided to be a patron of the newly-launched NGO Negara-Ku because the objectives are worth supporting to make the country a better place for every citizen irrespective of race to live in.
Simon said he became patron after Negara-Ku steering committee member Jerald Joseph contacted him just before its launch recently.
“They were looking for a person from Sabah to be one of the patrons. My role is essentially ceremonial,” he said.
Negara-Ku chairman Zaid Kamaruddin confirmed last Thursday that Simon would be a patron of the NGO.
The former Suhakam vice-chairman, who is now a MACC adviser, sees no reason why Negara-Ku should be opposed by any level-headed and right-thinking Malaysian.
“National unity and integration which is so important and essential in a plural society continues to be an elusive dream and vision in Malaysia.
“This is despite having a minister in charge of national unity, a department of national unity and national integration and a national unity consultative council,” he said.
He added that there was a lack of political will and strong national leadership for integration to take place.
“We need national Malaysian and not racial leaders,” said Simon.
He said the country needed a Mandela-type of leadership which did not condone discrimination based on race and religion.
“Mandela, despite the temptation, never advocated black supremacy or one community claiming superiority over others,” he added.
Simon said he was confident that the country would have a better and brighter future if it turned away from an overdose of politics based on race and religion.
“It must embrace good governance and the citizens must be made to feel that the government truly cares for them,” he said.
The two other patrons of Negara-Ku are novelist A. Samad Said and former Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan.