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KUCHING, May 31: With Gawai Dayak approaching tomorrow, Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg hoped that celebrants would not spend extravagantly and advised them to resist the temptation to do so.
“Only buy what you need and save for your children’s future and education. Income from employment or profitable results from agricultural activities should also be saved for long-term purposes such as investment in trust shares guaranteed by the government,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message.
However, the Premier also noted that the Dayaks, especially those in rural areas, live more comfortably compared to 30 years ago.
He elaborated that longhouses are now more modern, with tiled floors and appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners.
“Indeed, the comfort that is being enjoyed today is the result of the sweat of our own brothers and sisters as farmers, businessmen, workers in the industrial sector, the oil and gas sector, in the public and private sectors, and so on.
“The government’s only role is to enact effective policies to stimulate economic growth and improve employment opportunities for the people so that they have a steady and high income,” he said.
Abang Johari also expressed confidence that the future will be brighter with an economic development programme that will bring Sarawak’s economy to a higher level based on technology, data, and innovation.
“Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim once said in his speech that Sarawak is ahead of other states or the federal government in exploring an economy based on resource sustainability.
“For example, Sarawak already has some ability to produce hydrogen gas used by several buses and vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. In addition, Sarawak has also recently proven to produce green oil for the aviation industry’s needs from algae, or moss, which has been used by Airbus aircraft for the first time for flights from Kuching to Langkawi.
“It may be difficult for the general public to believe that algae can produce oil, but with the involvement of large companies from Japan in addition to the involvement of Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad), Airbus, and the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC) with partners from Sarawak, there is no doubt that algae bring hope for Sarawak’s sustainable economy in the future,” he said.
The Premier also attributed the success of Sarawak’s efforts to political stability and unity among the people of different races and religions, which allowed the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to focus on efforts to improve the region’s economy.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the identity of the Dayaks in Sarawak should be a point of unification for them, and they should unite to pursue development in various fields along with other races in the region.
“I hope that this festive season, the joyful atmosphere can be a vehicle for exchanging thoughts and opinions to strengthen the unity and commitment of the Dayak people towards more active involvement in the development process of this State,” he said.
He reiterated that the Dayaks have a large asset in the form of land ownership that should be given the ability to generate income through various means, for which the GPS government will continue to work to provide infrastructure facilities to support development efforts in rural areas.
“This effort involves a large expenditure, but I am confident that with the State’s increasing income, it can be done in stages through several local development agencies,” he said.
Rounding off his Gawai Dayak message, Abang Johari expressed his hope that all Sarawakians will be able to celebrate Gawai together regardless of race and religion, as it is a time for merrymaking and visiting family and friends.
“My wife (Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang) and I would like to wish ‘Selamat Hari Gawai, Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai, Lantang Senang Nguan Menua’ to the Dayak community.” — DayakDaily