BINTULU, Nov 9: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg asserted that the 12th Sarawak Election (PRN12) needs to be held in the near future as concerns over the highly contagious Covid-19 takes precedence over Undi18.
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman believed it is time to give the mandate for Sarawakians to vote for the next Sarawak government as Covid-19 cases in the State has declined recently, providing an ideal window for PRN12 to be held.
“We in GPS are not afraid of Undi18 because we are the one which allows the amendment of the law (to happen).
“But, what is more frightening is Covid-19. We do not know what variants will be coming next year. Nobody knows, nobody can guarantee us what will happen.
“If now it is the Delta variant, we do not know what will the next variant be.
“Since the Covid-19 situation has improved recently, we give the mandate to the people,” he said in his speech during the launching of the “Le Tour De Restoration (Greening Sarawak’s Campaign) and the launching of a drone seeding project 2021 here today.
He expressed his belief that once the new Sarawak government has been elected, there is a mandate for the government to assist the people through the economic recovery plan in response to Covid-19.
Abang Johari who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president noted Covid-19 cases in Sarawak showed a declining trend earlier this year before a sudden spike in the last few months due to the Delta variant.
Sarawak was supposed to hold PRN12 within 60 days upon the expiry of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) on June 7, 2021.
However, the election could not be held due to the Emergency Proclamation by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah from Aug 2 to Feb 2, 2022.
On Nov 3, the Emergency was revoked, paving the way for PRN12 to be held within 60 days.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the government is looking at setting aside an urban park in Bintulu as a nature reserve for balanced development across major towns in Sarawak, citing Piasau Nature Reserve in Miri, Sama Jaya Nature Reserve in Kuching and Bukit Lima Nature Reserve in Sibu.
Abang Johari emphasised that environmental sustainability has became an important factor in sustainable development post-Covid-19 in Sarawak.
In conjunction with the launching of the “Le Tour De Restoration (Greening Sarawak’s Campaign) and the launching of the drone seeding project, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Sarawak Forest Department and Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) concerning the collaboration to restore, preserve and protect trees under BDA’s jurisdiction.
Sarawak Forest Department was represented by its director Datu Hamden Mohammad while BDA was represented by its general manager Datu Muhammad Yakup Kari.
In his speech, Hamden said the department has discussed with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Sarawak campus to conduct forestry research including the use of technology for drone seeding with seed balls developed by the department to hasten tree replanting in Sarawak for future development.
He also said the department will use hyperspectral technology to identify replanting areas throughout the State.
Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, Deputy State Secretary (Socio Economic Transformation) Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, Urban Planning and Natural Resources Ministry permanent secretary Datu Zaidi Mahdi, Bintulu Resident Datu Jack Aman Luat, and Samalaju incumbent Datu Majang Renggie. — DayakDaily