Post Covid-19 exit strategy meant to set Sarawak’s economic direction only

Datuk Richard Wee

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 7: Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations (SFCA) calls on Sarawakians to work together to contribute constructive ideas to move Sarawak’s economy forward instead of sowing discontent and making disparaging remarks.

SFCA president Datuk Richard Wee said the economic strategy announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday is a proactive measure taken by the government to provide not only an economic exit plan for the post Covid-19 era but an economic direction up until 2030.

“The state’s economic post Covid-19 exit strategy is meant to be a medium – long term initiative.

“All segments of society should work together to contribute constructive ideas and comments to move our state forward together rather than sowing discontentment and making disparaging remarks on the efforts being made,” said Wee in a statement today.

He said the state government has been sincere in its attempt to help Sarawakians weather these difficult times by coming up with food aid programmes for the people as well as economic assistance for the business community.

“In this regard, we appreciate the fact that the government has reached out to NGOs and the business community on a number of occasions to gather feedback as well as suggestions and comments as to what are the key touch points that need to be addressed.

“I have been fortunate to be invited to a few of these meetings. For the most recent meeting, the purpose was to chart the State’s post Covid-19 economic exit strategy . It is meant to be a medium – long term initiative. Our focus was not on immediate needs.

While he agreed that it was imperative to solve immediate concerns, he stated that a responsible government would also look into the longer-term issues that may occur moving forward.

“The setting up of the Sarawak Economic Action Council is a very good move and I do hope that sufficient time and resources will be given to it for the council to complete their job effectively,” said Wee.

Wee pointed out that the Sarawak government so far has implemented numerous immediate term socio-economic measures to alleviate the impact of Covid-19.

“I understand that this is a priority for the government and that refinement as well as additional measures are constantly being evaluated. I find that it is unfair that some continue to criticise the initiatives of the State government without looking at the big picture,” said Wee.

Wee said when he was the meeting called by the Sarawak government to attend the Post Covid-19 Economic Measures meeting, it was understood that the meeting would focus on the longer term strategies and the direction of Sarawak after the pandemic.

“During the meeting, the chief minister outlined the new core principles of the strategy and he emphasized that the previous announced initiatives will have to compliment with the new ones.

“The Chief Minister also informed the meeting that Sarawak government is reviewing the aid packages announced earlier and are prepared to consider provided additional assistance if needed.

“It was heartening that the Sarawak government was engaging all the stakeholders to be involved in the formulating of the economic policies.

Wee stressed Sarawakians should not be confused that in formulating new economic strategies for the future, the immediate measures needed for the current challenges will not be addressed.

To Wee, those criticising the state government must realise that both short term initiatives and long term programmes can work together in tandem.

“There is a saying – ‘You can both walk and chew gum at the same time.’ In essence, it means that the government can work on both short term as well as longer term issues at the same time.

“I would like to encourage all segments of society to work together and contribute constructive ideas and comments so as to move our State forward in a sustainable manner rather than sowing discontent and making disparaging remarks on the efforts being made,” said Wee. —DayakDaily