By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 25: How many “first in Malaysia” achievements has Sarawak accomplished since Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg took over the helm of the state?
Just today at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Special Convention at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) alone, he mentioned three such achievements.
The first was that Sarawak is the first state in Malaysia to have its own mobile payment application — Sarawak Pay.
Abang Johari noted that when he first started to introduce statewide Internet connectivity, many questioned and criticised him as being a “busybody”.
“Then came Covid-19 and businesses went online. There are people selling fish, vegetables online. What surprised me most is elderly people are also going online.
“If we hadn’t started to prepare ourselves since 2017, we would still be struggling with linking our telephone line to get access to Internet,” said Abang Johari who is the PBB president.
He added Sarawakians are fast catching up in using digital payment platforms, including Sarawak Pay.
“They make payments through Sarawak Pay. The first state that has mobile payment is Sarawak which is in Malaysia,” said Abang Johari.
The second “first in Malaysia” he mentioned today was Sarawak as the first state to have its own television station — TV Sarawak (TVS).
“Sarawak is the first state which has its own television station. Other states do not have one. There is a minister from our neighbouring state. He asked about TVS. He looked at the cost and he did not dare (venture into it). He was shocked.
“We Sarawak looked at the cost; we just went ahead with it. We came up with TVS. As you know, we have the revenue from Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad.”
The third “first in Malaysia” is Sarawak’s collaboration with Japan to produce hydrogen.
“The first area in South East Asia which produces hydrogen with Japan is Sarawak. Japan invests because of our peace and (political) stability,” said Abang Johari.
Abang Johari also said two corporations from Japan namely Sumitomo Corporation and Eneos Corporation have shown interest in working with Sarawak to build factories in Bintulu with annual hydrogen production capacity of 10,000 tonnes.
He said one kg of hydrogen is priced at USD8, and asked the audience to estimate how much revenue 10,000 tonnes of hydrogen could bring to Sarawak.
Apart from the above, Abang Johari’s other projects such as the 3-in-1 refuelling stations by Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), international schools for marginalised students, and Sarawak’s very own coast guards, which he did not mentioned in today’s function, are some of the initiatives which when completed will also add to the state’s laurels of “firsts in Malaysia”. — DayakDaily