KUCHING, May 31: Political stability and unity amongst the diverse peoples of Sarawak have been the foundation for the good and orderly administration in the state that has enabled a healthy economy and economic growth.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg thus, in his Hari Gawai Dayak message, called on all Sarawakians to not take this political stability, unity, peace and harmony for granted.
“It is not easy to build unity among Sarawak’s multiracial and multireligious people, but what has been built is easy to be destroyed in the presence of social media which is easily accessible and used to sow seeds of hatred among people.
“There are certain groups recently that tend to raise racial suspicions among races on social media for their political interests,” he observed.
He urged people to not be influenced nor get involved in such activities as racial hostility will only bring harm and put all Sarawakians at a disadvantage.
“As people of Bumi Kenyalang who always appreciate and cherish peace and harmony, we are blessed that our community of people with different races and religions can celebrate our festivals according to our religions and traditions in a peaceful environment,” he added.
Abang Johari emphasised that Sarawak has relatively strong financial reserves as funds saved in past decades which increased year after year, have allowed the people some comfort in the face of difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has nearly brought the world including Malaysia and Sarawak to a standstill.
“Sarawak is quite far ahead compared to other states (in financial reserves). Like the saying goes, ‘we save for the rainy days’.
“As such, the Sarawak government is able to provide various assistance to the people due to strong financial positives as well as prudent spending in past decades,” he added.
The Sarawak government, he pointed out, is the only state government which has provided assistance to its people other than the federal government.
“I sincerely hope that our people, heads of households, hawkers, and small and medium enterprise (SME) operators have received or have applied for the assistance provide by the state government,” he added.
Abang Johari reiterated that Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 have been rolled out to relieve the burden of the people and help them cushion the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Iinitiatives under these economic stimulus packages includes cash incentives for the B40 group including singles aged 21 years and above earning RM2,000 and below; deferment of loan payments and offering interest-free soft loans for SMEs; business licence fees waived and discounts for stall rental; monthly incentive payments for frontliners fighting Covid-19; and incentive payments for those who lost their jobs.
“I hope all the cash assistance and non-cash assistance can partially alleviate the burden of our people who have lost their source of income during the MCO (Movement Control Order) and CMCO (Conditional MCO) period,” he added.
The Sarawak government, he continued, was well aware of the difficulties faced by the people especially in terms of food supply and employment and as such, RM16.4 million had been allocated for the provision of food aid to half a million Sarawakians.
“Air, river and land transportation are utilised to deliver the food aid throughout Sarawak. For those in the interior, military helicopters and the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) are mobilised; in the upstream and coastal areas, boats are used while other areas are accessible by roads, trucks and cars,” he explained.
Abang Johari also gave assurance that the state government is committed to ensuring that sufficient food supplies are always available throughout the state.
“To our Dayak community and friends, I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the Gawai festival despite the circumstances. Selamat Gawai Dayak, Selamat Andu Gawai Dayak and Selamat Do Gawai Dayak,” he added. — DayakDaily