By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Oct 4: Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has agreed to provide a one-to-one matching grant to the amount raised by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak in its fund raising exercise to build its own building.
To make himself clear, he cited the example that if the Federation can raise RM7 million, he will match it with another RM7 million.
Announcing this at the association’s officer bearers (2022-2025) installation ceremony tonight, Abang Johari also made known that an additional RM200,000 grant will be allocated to the Youth and Women’s wing for the purpose of organising their annual activities.
The Chinese community, he said, has always been an important part of the Sarawak’s economic and politics, with their vision and industriousness which has positioned the community in the forefront of business, trade and industry in Sarawak.
“The Chinese community has been helping us all this time and this is where we must help each other when we have problems. Similar to other races and ethnic group, there is no other way to move forward except to work together.
“That is why our Sarawak development agenda is inclusive for all,” Abang Johari said.
Association president Datuk Richard Wee had earlier thanked Abang Johari for allocating a piece of land in Simpang Tiga for their future building, a home that the members of the Federation can finally call its own.
While they are currently in the process of finalising the details with Land and Survey Department, Wee said preliminary estimate for the cost of the building is between RM10 million to RM15 million. Their own fundraising exercise will be initiated once the Federation is given the land title.
On the related subject of developing Sarawak, Abang Johari said the State is heading towards the right direction and any revenue raked in by the government will be returning back to the people.
“Sarawak should have its own economic policy pushing it to be a develop State. Since we have the resources, we felt that we have the strength of our own. In order to add value to these resources, we need knowledge and the key word here is education, irregardless of Chinese or national system.
“The fact that our Chinese schools are not only educating the Chinese population, but also the Malays and Dayaks, hence I continue what is in the existing system and I add on to it. That is why every year, our Chinese school gets RM10mil in funding,” he said.
Following successful negotiations based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), particularly in revenue from oil and gas, Abang Johari said that has been why he is able and dare to give back more to the people.
“I have wanted to increase our State revenue for this purpose. When I saw how we can achieve it through MA63 and what are our rights, I fought for it, even if that meant fighting Petronas and imposing sales tax on oil and gas,” he said.— DayakDaily