KUCHING, July 21: The significance of the Sarawak government’s ability and right to maintain self-rule over local affairs of the State is reflected during the Covid-19 pandemic, where decisions made had prioritised the interests of Sarawakians over all.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised this in his message for Sarawak Day that will be observed tomorrow of July 22 to commemorate Sarawak attaining self-government from the British colonial power way back in 1963.
“We respect the Federal government and decisions made at the Federal level but however not every decision made in Putrajaya is suitable or practical for implementation in Sarawak.
“Sarawak is a region that is nearly the size of Peninsular Malaysia and sometimes, with constraints in resources and infrastructure, it is difficult for the authorities to implement the decisions made at the Federal level,” he said.
In Sarawak’s efforts to overcome the pandemic plaguing the State at this time, Abang Johari appreciates the fact that Sarawak has the power under the Constitution to make decisions that suit the situation in Sarawak.
Moreover, he said that the ability to make its own decisions was essential to reflect Sarawakians’ determination to steer their own future so that the State can stand on par with other states or countries that are already ahead.
“The modification to the strategy in rolling out vaccination via the ‘inject first and register later’ initiative is a clear example that recognised the hardships of rural and interior people in longhouses and villages to access the MySejahtera app.
“Having the room to make our own decisions in accordance with the needs of Sarawak has allowed the State to take key steps to accelerate the vaccination process in Sarawak including by setting up vaccination centres (PPVs) in workplaces in collaboration with industry players as well as mobile teams and military assistance to reach out to those who are unable to go to the PPVs,” he added.
With all these measures, Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak is among the fastest states in the vaccination programme with more than 60 per cent of the 2.2 million eligible adults already receiving the first dose of vaccines.
“In addition to measures implemented by SDMC (State Disaster Management Committee) to contain the spread of Covid-19, it appears that we have successfully brought down the number of cases recently.
“This demonstrates that Sarawak, with the given space, has the ability to manage whatever issues faced,” he added.
As Sarawak moves toward achieving developed State status by 2030, Abang Johari said that the government under his leadership has come up with plans to develop the economy strategically with focus given on infrastructure development including that of telecommunication and Internet.
“I am confident that with our far-sighted policy, we can bring the State’s economic development to a higher level and increase the people’s income with value-added products,” he said.
Despite the small-scale celebrations this year, Abang Johari believes that the Sarawak Day celebration themed ‘A Glorious Sarawak for Everyone’ will be more meaningful with the launch of the post-Covid-19 plan for Sarawak that aims to chart the way forward to 2030. — DayakDaily