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KUCHING, Dec 4: The media in Sarawak has been playing a crucial role in disseminating information to the public, and hence, being the bridge between the government and the public, asserts Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Now that Sarawak will be facing an election soon, Abang Johari added that he is confident the media will continue to play its rightful role to help voters to make an informed decision so that a good and strong government will be put in place after Dec 18 to continue developing the State.
His speech was read by Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, the Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring, at the Kenyalang Journalism Awards 2021 tonight.
Abang Johari also hoped that the media would continue to embrace and highlight the many developments taking place in the State, such as the boutique airline to be operated by Hornbill Skyways, a state-owned airline company, to reduce the dependency on commercial airlines.
“Example, we need you to explain the forward-looking considerations why Mukah Airport is being built and how the small airline would be operated.
“It is a forward-looking decision that would help to generate the economy through the export of agricultural products as well as meeting demand for individual travel and tourism because this airport allows point to point travel which tourists prefer instead of transit travel. In addition, the surrounding area covering 300,000 hectares will be developed into an Agrotech area to support the viability of the airport’s operation,” he explained.
As for the RM108 million Bebuling Short Take-off and Landing Airport (Bebuling STOLport) project in Betong, he assured it is a step closer to implementation.
It is one of the two new airports in Sarawak. The other is the RM173.5 million Bukit Mabong airport in Baleh, Kapit.
With these two new airports, Abang Johari said Sarawak would be better able to increase connectivity for the people and enhance trade.
On his decision to pursue the digital economy policy back in 2017, he knew that people were initially sceptical about it.
“They asked, why go digital when our basic amenities like water and electricity supplies are still insufficient? They were correct, but we will always be left behind if we don’t start somewhere.
“As I used to say, the pandemic proved that my decision to embrace digital technology was correct as online transactions became the norm in our everyday lives when movement control orders were imposed one after another,” he said.
At the same time, Abang Johari acknowledged that media was among the people out in the field when the Covid-19 pandemic first came to light. The media has been instrumental in letting the public know of the changes in rules, cases updates, standard operating procedures, and so on.
He said this was to ensure that all parties are kept updated on what is happening and play their part in keeping the pandemic at bay.
In congratulating all the winners in the journalism award tonight, Abang Johari advised those who did not win this time to work and try harder next year. ― DayakDaily