By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, April 29: Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud today urged all Sarawakians to support the state government’s efforts to reclaim the state’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He emphasised that negotiations with the federal government on this matter had to be done through the right channels. Hence, he praised Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for bringing together key members of his administration to join the various committees to discuss this issue with Putrajaya.
“I am delighted that the state government is negotiating with the federal government to reclaim the state’s rights as enshrined in the MA63.
“I believe the committees are the best platforms for us to discuss and negotiate MA63 issues to reclaim our rights. To Sarawakians at large, refrain from taking actions that are against the law and which could compromise the security and peace of Sarawak,” he said in his address on the first day of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) session this morning.
Taib reminded Abang Johari and his team to continue putting Sarawak’s and Sarawakians’ interests at the very top when pursuing the state’s rights.
On another matter, Taib praised Abang Johari for discovering a new stream of revenue for the state by enforcing the state’s Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO) and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 (GDO).
He said by imposing 5 per cent sales tax on the state’s oil and gas products meant for export, this would contribute some RM3.8 billion to the state coffers annually.
“I urge every quarter to support the state government in this effort to diversify the state’s income and revenue for the benefit of the people.”
He highlighted various development projects and initiatives that would benefit from this new revenue stream in order to close the rural-urban development gap.
“Many high impact and people-centric development projects have been approved by the state government following the (allocation of the) RM9.076 billion 2019 state budget, especially for rural areas.
“I am happy that the state government is giving due priority to rural development in terms of infrastructure, utilities and communications.
“I urge all government agencies to ensure that all these projects are implemented properly and on schedule for the benefit of the people.”
Meanwhile, Taib also praised Abang Johari for his digital economy initiative, which led to the setting up of the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), launching of the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022, Innovation Hub, Sarawak Pay, Digital Village and collaboration between Centexs and Huawei to train skilled workers for the digital economy.
“These efforts will prepare a strong foundation for the state in its digital economy initiative. I believe the state will have a competitive edge by implementing high-tech digital technologies in sectors like tourism, industrial, agriculture and smart rural development.
“Usage of digital technology would also make it easier for us to expand our market internationally.
“Because of that, we must increase efforts to improve our digital infrastructure such as erecting more telecommunications towers, laying more fibre optic cables and (strengthening) implementation of high-speed Internet connection.” — DayakDaily