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KUCHING, May 31: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg calls on trust to be rendered to fellow Sarawakians as they will be left to “fend for themselves” eventually.
“Let us learn to trust our fellow Sarawakians more than we trust others, who come and go. Not all may agree with what I have said here, but at the end of the day, Sarawakians are left to fend for themselves.
“Whatever our shortcomings as a group or otherwise, we as Sarawakians have to work it out among ourselves one way or another,” he said in his Hari Gawai Dayak message today.
He said he understood that there would be diverse political affiliations, yet he hoped Sarawakians would be united for the betterment of Sarawak.
“It is all right for us to have different political affiliations and have different ideas about things, but let us unite as Sarawakians for the greater good of this Land of the Hornbills,” he said.
He admitted that much needed to be done to provide roads, bridges, clean water, 24-hour electricity and Internet connections, but assured that his administration was very determined to ensure that the rural areas are well-connected, well served with facilities and amenities and its economic capacity expanded.
The state now has more money from the imposition of five per cent tax on oil and gas products for export, and the funds collected would be channelled back to the people in the form of infrastructural facilities, he said.
“Let us unite to ensure that together we can provide all these needs to our people and be a developed state by 2030,” he said.
Abang Johari also called on the Dayaks to leave behind their traditional way of life and participate more in commerce and industry through the modernisation of agriculture. For instance, they should swap their traditional subsistence farming for agriculture using new technologies and digital marketing platforms.
He said he believed Dayak farmers could succeed with the support of good connectivity and marketing strategies.
“Our Dayak friends have a lot of land that can be used to produce food for export, and they should take advantage of this. A lot of Dayak smallholders have succeeded in oil palm and pepper farming and, with the right advice and secured markets, I don’t see any reason why they cannot do well in food production such as planting of vegetables and fruits.
“In this context, I am confident that our Dayak friends can play an important role in helping Sarawak to be a net exporter of food in the not too distant future,” he said.
On Gawai Dayak, Abang Johari said it is a celebration that seeks to give identity to the Dayak community in Sarawak ever since the holiday was incepted in 1963. It is also an occasion signifying Dayak unity in their quest for progress and advancement.
“I believe Gawai Dayak and Dayak unity has never been intended to segregate the Dayak community from other communities and neither is Gawai Dayak really ever meant to be a show of force to fellow Sarawakians of other races.
“But it is always good for Dayaks to unite among themselves and see how best they can participate in Sarawak’s economic development along with their counterparts from other races.
“Sarawak belongs to all of us, and it is my personal conviction that Sarawak has to be administered and developed involving the participation of all races,” said Abang Johari.
He said unity had been the pillar of Sarawak’s strength in the last 56 years.
“Much has been achieved because of our ability to be a cohesive society but much more needs to be done to put Sarawak on equal footing, if not above the other already developed states.
“Sekali lagi saya mengucapkan selamat meraikan Hari Gawai Dayak 2019 kepada rakan-rakan kita yang berketurunan Dayak dan bergembiralah di samping keluarga dan sahabat handai,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily