By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Aug 22: The new State Cabinet line-up will focus on five main thrusts to propel Sarawak as a developed state by 2030, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The five thrusts are trade, oil and gas, agriculture and rural economy, urban renewal and transport, and tourism.
“In view of these five areas, our Cabinet has to be reshuffled to be in line with our objectives toward 2030,” he told a packed press conference at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Three Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian; Assistant Minister of Local Council Datu Penguang Manggil; and newly appointed State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion were present.
Outlining the importance of the five thrusts, Abang Johari said, it was vital for Sarawak to consolidate its policies, vis-a-vis, through the reshuffling of the State Cabinet, so as to ensure that development will be holistic and comprehensive in order to achieve a developed status as envisioned by the state government.
“The state is in the midst of formulating policies that can transform Sarawak into a developed state by the year 2030. And therefore the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) leaders have agreed that we must consolidate and implement our policies that will give strong driver in our economic development towards achieving the target of 2030,” he elaborated.
Abang Johari, who retained his previous portfolios, also highlighted that the new Cabinet line-up was necessitated to fill the posts left vacant following the resignation Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh on July 15.
Wong’s last posts were Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce and Second Finance Minister.
Abang Johari emphasised that the five thrusts or sectors were crucial in driving the economy forward.
“We are a trading state and there are a lot of import and export coming to our state because of our successes in the manufacturing sector. So we are exporting a lot of products overseas,” he said.
“So our emphasis is on improving our port development which is constitutionally under us. Under the Constitution, ports and harbours are within the power of the state. So we have to consolidate and strengthen these facilities,” he added.
On oil and gas sector, the Chief Minister stressed that with Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) and the setting up of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), it would be further strengthened in the next decade.
“Thirdly is agriculture. The federal government also gives emphasis on agriculture based on modern technology and this will be a driver for us to transform our rural economy because agriculture is basically rural. As you know, we have implemented agriculture parks and also big companies are investing…and we have to modernise our agriculture,” he said.
On urban development, Abang Johari pointed out that it would have to be combined with the development of urban transportation.
“We have to have focus on our urban transport towards 2030. Currently, we are on trial period using electric cars, hydrogen buses as well as connectivity in our urban development,” he said.
The new Ministry of Transport, he continued, will look after all forms of transportation including Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) and the state’s proposed new airline.
“We have to improve public transportation in the urban areas,” he added.
On port development, he said both the Senari and Tanjung Manis ports might be expanded or relocated to cater for the increasing volumes in trade expected in the next 10 years while, tourism sector must be strengthened as well.
Abang Johari informed that the new ministers would be sworn in soon after his meeting with the Governor Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.— DayakDaily