KUCHING, Jan 24: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg gave his assurance to Sarawakians that the GPS government would continue to strengthen Sarawak’s economy for the benefit of the people.
“In conjunction with the festive season, on behalf of the Sarawak government I would like to give the reassurance that the GPS Government under my leadership is doing all we can to strengthen our economy because a strong economy is paramount to our well-being.
“We are always trying to be consistent and firm in our policies to use our resources to generate more revenue for Sarawak which will eventually be returned to the people in the provision of infrastructural facilities and utilities,” Abang Johari said in his Chinese New Year message.
So far, he outlined that hundreds of infrastructure and utilities projects, especially in the rural areas, worth billions of ringgit being implemented over the last two years was a testament of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government’s commitment to ensure that Sarawak was well-connected in order to prime it for a robust growth towards 2030 and beyond.
“I am confident that with the increase in public spending and more funds being injected into our economy from our annual budget and from the Alternative Funding initiative, our economy can register a growth of between 5 to 6 per cent this year. We have to achieve at least 6 per cent growth per annum if we are to achieve a developed state status by 2030,” he said.
Abang Johari, who is also Finance Minister, asserted that Sarawak should be proud that it was not behind others in some aspects of development of a modern economy which is driven by technology.
“I have just launched the free public service of our three hydrogen-powered buses in addition to the electric buses which are already on the road in Kuching. The hydrogen production facility in Kuching is the first in the country and in South East Asia and neighbouring countries are indicating that they are also on the path towards emission-free public transport,” he said.
On the judicial front, the Chief Minister said that Sarawak’s courts were well ahead of other courts in the country in the use of technology developed by SAINS to aid in the administration of justice.
“Our court is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist the judiciary in meting out the appropriate sentences for criminal offences which is being adopted as a benchmark by the country’s judicial system,” he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that Sarawak’s land administration system (LASIS) was the first in the country to be able to issue land titles within a day of registration.
“In addition, the mobile LASIS App which one can download from the apps store is a mobile platform providing information and services to the public,” he said.
Abang Johari also highlighted that Sarawak was ahead in the effort to produce more food in response to the federal government’s call to enhance the status of the country’s food security.
“We have set up a trade and tourism office in Singapore (STATOS) and there have been some visible signs that our trade co-operation with the island republic is showing some initial results.
“We are exporting tilapia fish from Batang Ai to Singapore and this would be followed by chicken eggs once the essential certifications are completed according to Singapore’s standard,” he said, adding that these are some of the achievements in the period of three years after he assumed office on Jan 13, 2017.
“There are of course many other things that we are doing for the benefit of all Sarawakians which I cannot possibly mention all here as we have 81 initiatives in total to date being implemented,” he added.
In his message, the Chief Minister also hoped that the Chinese community would take time off during this joyful occasion to indulge in the simpler and down-to-earth things in life like enjoying their favourite food or drinks, reuniting with family members in joy and happiness and having a pleasant time in the company of friends.
“Make it also a time for us to connect with one another and bring cheer to people who have less than us and those who are unfortunate in one way or another.
“Our Sarawak is a place where the respective races are free to practise their culture, tradition, and religion without hindrance. We celebrate and find strength in our differences rather than letting them divide us. For us diversity is beauty and strength, and not division.
“As we join our Chinese friends to celebrate the New Year, I invite all of you, especially the older generations, to look back at the past where our multi-racial society was more closely-knitt in the ways we conduct our everyday lives.
“We played, went to picnics, frequented the same coffeeshops and had fun together, not caring very much whether one was Malay, Chinese, Dayak or Orang Ulu.
“We must relive this spirit of togetherness and trust in each other in order for Sarawak to continue to be a harmonious and a happy place for all of us,” he added.
He also hoped that the Year of the Rat would bring prosperity, unity and good health to all in the ‘Land of the Hornbills’. —DayakDaily