Premier of Sarawak Abang Johari catches attention of the world

Abang Johari speaking to reporters during a doorstep interview after the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus graduation ceremony at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on Oct 17, 2023. Photo credit: Ukas

By Samuel Simon

KUCHING, Oct 31: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s innovativeness and dynamism have not only caught the attention of leaders in the ASEAN region, but also that of world leaders who have extended invitations to him to give talks on the green economy in countries such as Europe, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.

As such, to say that Sarawak Premier is a leader who keeps on scoring multiple economic goals successfully for Sarawak is certainly not an overstatement.

Since being appointed as Sarawak’s Premier in 2017, Abang Johari, popularly known as Abang Jo, has garnered much attention not only among Malaysians, but also beyond the shores of Sarawak.

This is due to the fact that he has been managing Sarawak very well, especially in introducing new economies and implementing statewide physical developments to bolster the State’s coffers and to uplift the people’s standard of living.

Abang Johari (fourth right) and members of the Sarawak delegation and representatives of their host pose for a photo during the visit to the CCS facility Northern Lights and Technology Centre Mongstad in Norway, to see the technology used by the parties involved in the sector on Aug 23, 2023. Photo credit: TVS

Money matters

It is his vision and aspiration to see Sarawak become a high income State by the year 2030, as spelt out in the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) launched on July 22, 2021.

With his strong background in finance and tenacity in carrying out his many responsibilities to the people, Abang Jo is indeed on the right track to achieve the status.

Even before 2030, Sarawak’s achievement under Abang Jo is clearly reflected in what the World Bank lead economist Apurva Sangi said on July 6, 2023 that “Sarawak qualifies as a high income state as it has a gross national income (GNI) per capita of more than US13,205 (RM61,441)”.

In this regard, Abang Johari has proven himself to be well ahead of his peers in the nation which is even acknowledged by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim himself.

This can be seen from the fact that on Sept 16, 2023, Anwar invited him to give a 30-minute lecture on his new economic policies and achievements to all the Federal ministers at his office at WISMA Bapa Malaysia.

Coincidently, the Federal cabinet meeting was the first ever held in Sarawak, thus creating a historic moment for Abang Jo.

(Front row, from left) Fadillah, Zahid, Hajiji, Abang Johari, Anwar, Asfia and Fatimah photographed during the Malaysia Day 2023 celebration at Indoor Stadium, Kuching on Sept 16, 2023. Photo credit: Information Department (JaPen)

Economic policies matter

It is a very clear indicator that the Premier is the leader to watch when it comes to discovering new resources and sustainable development to add to Sarawak’s coffers.

Among the many new initiatives that he has introduced in recent years are the digital economy, setting up of UNIFOR, Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office in Singapore (STATOS), use of hydrogen, algae for sustainable aviation fuel, the autonomous rapid transit (ART) system which is now conducting its final trial runs, creating the sovereign fund and ombudsmen policy, carbon storage utilisation and carbon trading and research, boutique airline and the most recent one is the launching of the Sarawak Integrated Sour Gas Evacuation System in Bintulu.

Once a sound economy is in place, the Premier said his next agenda is to distribute the State’s wealth among the people in order to increase household income and thus eradicating poverty, especially among rural communities.

Abang Johari (second left) carrying the Fuya manufactured battery during a visit to the plant on Sept 20, 2023.

MA63 matters

Abang Jo is also the type of leader who doesn’t mince his words in addressing issues particularly on the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) to make clear his intention that the issue is only partially resolved.

With Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof helming the Sarawak negotiation team, Abang Jo’s outspokenness and to-the-point requests have resulted in the restoration of several rights, something Sarawakians in general hope to see.

Sarawakians are indeed blessed to have Abang Jo in the captain’s seat as he prioritises the  interests of Sarawakians in his administration.

Al-Sultan Abdullah photographed walking through the crowd at Pullman Hotel Kuching while Abang Johari and others following behind on Sept 12, 2023. Photo credit: Sarawak Information Department (Japen)

Fairness matters

As an impartial State leader, Abang Jo is not only pursuing economic achievements, but he is also a leader who accepts and tolerates other religious faiths as part of his own big family.

This is manifested by the establishment of Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR) and that Sarawakians are free to use the word Allah in their respective prayers. After all, Sarawakians comprise of more than 26 ethnic groups.

To the King, Abang Jo’s loyalty is also unquestionable as he swiftly agreed to His Majesty’s request when he was asked to help form the new government under Anwar, all because he wanted to see a Malaysia with a stable government.

It is important that all Sarawakians must continue to give their fullest cooperation and support to our dynamic and innovative Premier and his cabinet members to enable them to keep on scoring goals for Sarawak. — DayakDaily

(Seated from left) Uggah, Abang Johari and Works Minister Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi in a photo with Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese of Kuching Fr Simon Poh and other distinguished guests at the Gawai Dayak open house in BCCK on June 1, 2023.