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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Sept 1: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg believes federalism is not an obstacle to development as well as reinstating Sarawak’s rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He noted some countries such as the USA, Germany, Australia, Canada and Belgium were formed based on federalism and practised federalism with the federal government consisting of various political structures and administrations besides special rights being accorded to states.
“Those countries are developed countries and I believe the federalism concept is not an obstacle to development.
“I extend my appreciation to the leadership of the federal government in the past 17 months for showing concern towards Sarawakians’ dreams to obtain natural resources although they agreed that part of it has to be contributed to national development.
“I really hope that the new federal government will continue to respect the special rights and welfare of Sarawakians by returning Sarawak’s rights which have been eroded,” he said in his speech during the State-level National Day celebration at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex last night.
On education and training, he said the State government cannot just leave these matters entirely up to the federal government due to the fact that one size does not fit all.
Hence, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government took the initiative to develop domestic education and training infrastructure with Sarawak Foundation playing a major role.
He pointed out Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, Curtin University Malaysia, University College of Technology (UCTS), i-CATS University College, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Centre of Technical Excellence (Centexs) and Sarawak Skills Development Centre (PPKS) were set up to spearhead talent and skills development in Sarawak.
While extending his appreciation to the federal government for according university status to UCTS and i-CATS recently and to build a training hospital at Unimas, he hoped the federal government through the Education and Higher Education Ministry will continue to be receptive to the educational and training needs of Sarawak as part of its overall development.
On the State’s economy, Abang Johari who is also the Finance and Economic Planning Minister disclosed the State government is spending billions of ringgit to build physical, Internet, and electricity and water supply infrastructure to develop an advanced economy.
“I envisage that by 2025, we will be able to complete the construction of our major infrastructure projects that will provide greater connectivity and enhance the enabling factors conducive to the growth of industries, including agro-industries,” he said.
Among those present at the State-level National Day celebration were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who is also the minister-in-charge of the State-level National Day celebration, ministers, assistant ministers and invited guests. — DayakDaily