Elected leaders must prioritise bread-and-butter issues, says advocacy group

File photo depicting a trader at a local market.

KUCHING, Dec 17: Sarawak leaders and policymakers should remain focused on bread-and-butter issues in the immediate to medium term as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect livelihoods, said the Dayak Transformation Association (Trada) today.

Its founder and president, Joseph Janting, said while State policymakers need to plan and invest strategically in initiatives that will spur Sarawak’s long term economic growth, there is an immediate need to alleviate the burden and suffering of individuals and families who the pandemic has impacted.

“In my hometown of Miri, there are many households who cannot make ends meet because their breadwinners have lost their jobs or have to cope with lower incomes.

“To make matters worse, basic infrastructure in homes and longhouses such as rooftops and lights could not be replaced or repaired because of the lack of funds,” he said in a statement in conjunction with the 12th Sarawak Election taking place tomorrow.

According to Joseph, N76 Marudi incumbent Datu Dr Penguang Manggil is a good example of a leader who is focused on bread-and-butter issues to get communities back to their feet as quickly as possible.

“Datu Dr Penguang has been pro-active in contributing resources and aid as well as going out of the way to help people find jobs.

“Beyond my constituency, I am sure there are leaders like Datu Dr Penguang. What is critical is that community representatives must be committed to identifying and resolving day-to-day issues, even simple things like food and sustenance or building materials, so that people can recover quickly and move forward,” he added.

He also mentioned that Trada would also like to see State assembly policymakers come together to address critical problems affecting the lives of everyday Sarawakians including the high price of goods which will lead to an even more serious black market problem.

He explained that the problem of illegal cigarettes in Sarawak is one of the highest in the country and illegal alcohol is also easily available in the State.

“Trada hopes that the federal and State government can work together to ensure that every day essential goods are not dominated by black market,” he concluded.

Trada is a youth and community advocacy group focused on uplifting the competitiveness and skill-set of the youth segment in both Sarawak and Sabah. ― DayakDaily