By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 7: Low income household percentage in Sarawak is currently at 57 per cent.
Highlighting this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed that the state government has to reduce this significantly in 10 years’ time.
“This (issue) has to be addressed holistically. Income gap will need to be reduced with an improved Gini coefficient while access to social services will need to be improved for every Sarawakians.
“We also must not forget the vulnerable segments of our society. Everyone, including our special needs community, will be taken care of,” he said in his opening address at the 4th International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.
Reflecting on the history of previous industrial revolutions, Abang Johari noted that if factors related to social inequality were not appropriately addressed, then there will be risk of social and digital divide.
According to the Digital Inclusion Index Report, he shared that the socio-demographic cohorts that were most digitally excluded consisted of people in low income households, people with special needs such as disability, people who did not finish secondary school education, indigenous communities and people who were not employed.
“I want our initiatives and projects to be people or community-centric. The distribution of wealth to the community must be equitable for both urban and rural settings,” he added.
Building an inclusive society was one of the three pillars laid out in the Sarawak government’s Post Covid-19 Exit Economy Strategy 2030 formulated by Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC). The other two pillars were economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.
Abang Johari’s vision for Sarawak by 2030 is for Sarawak to be a developed state with a thriving economy driven by data and innovation where everyone gets to enjoy economic prosperity, social inclusivity and a sustainable environment.
On environmental sustainability, Abang Johari stressed that the government will enhance the state policies and regulatory framework and make sure they were enforced.
“For example, our agricultural and mining activities will be monitored and certified. We will also continue with reforestation efforts to increase forest cover.
“We will harness our rich biodiversity of Sarawak, considered one of the richest in the world, with research in our flora and fauna to build sustainable industry such as pharmaceuticals, bio-actives, etc.
“Finally, we will invest in technology and innovation that can ensure all our economic activities are sustainable,” he said.
By 2030, Abang Johari added that Sarawak wants to achieve a world-class recognition for biodiversity conservation and protected areas management. — DayakDaily