Friday, 24 September 2021

Our full support to call by Federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) for local industry players to make early preparations ahead of national recovery plan

We fully support the call by Federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) which has asked local industry players to make early preparations ahead of the national recovery plan of entering the endemic phase.

This was stated by Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri who said the initial preparation works is important in terms of compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and new norms. This is also in line with the recent announcement by our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the federal government will allow inter-state travel and will re-open tourist spots after the national vaccination rate reaches 90 percent.

The announcement is also a positive indication that our country’s tourism industry is on the road of recovery that is driven by domestic tourism activities. MOTAC also encourages Malaysian Families to make full use of the flexibility provided, adding that this was also an opportunity for tourism industry players to revive economic activities.

MOTAC also reminded all parties to render their full cooperation to ensure that the tourism and culture industry can move forward again. Thus, strong support from industry players is essential to ensure that the industry is back on track, in line with the Tourism Recovery Plan which was carefully compiled in July last year as a measure to revive the country's tourism industry and culture.

The Special Committee on Pandemic Management at national level has recently agreed to allow the opening of tourist destinations as well as inter-state travel when the vaccination rate of the adult population in the country reaches 90 percent.

In addition, the Prime Minister also announced that the operation of spas, wellness (health centres), and massage centres will also be allowed for customers and operators who have been fully vaccinated from 1 October.

Tourism centres and activities such as zoos, farms, aquariums, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, and forest parks will be allowed to operate in all phases of the National Recovery Plan effective Oct. 1 with all operators and visitors having completed their vaccinations.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Transforming our old Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (ADUN) building into another local iconic landmark

 I have informed our local folks that the transformation of the old Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building into a Centre of Performing Arts will soon be another attractive landmark for Sarawakians.

I personally wish to see the local arts industry continue to be developed and I always guide myself that we want to see Kuching as a city with a soul and renovating the old DUN building will compliment our efforts in achieving these aspirations. 

Our media friends had seek my comments on this matter after the "Seni Perdana Dialogue" session which I attended recently and they were told that the contractor had already been identified to undertake the renovation works at the building at Petra Jaya but the Covid-19 pandemic had caused a delay in the project completion.

I have also mentioned that through the assistance of higher learning institutions and art schools, we hope there would be regular performances at the Centre of Performing Arts once the renovation project has been completed.

Hence, in the future I do hope tourists can spend a day at the Centre of Performing Arts of world-class standard appreciating the arts and cultural heritage of our state, apart from visiting other tourist attractions that are available here.

Through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak,  we would extend our fullest support to the arts industry players to further promote their craft and achieve a higher level of success, including through financial support.

I have also advised our local arts performers to contribute to Social Security Organisation (Socso) for them to enjoy benefits offered as part a social safety net, since they were most likely not members of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) like their counterparts in the public and private sector.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Looking forward to state-level National Sports Day 2021 (HSN2021) on October 10

We will having the state-level National Sports Day 2021 (HSN2021) on October 10 and it will be held on a modest scale at the Youth and Sports Complex of Jalan Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce. For Sarawak, we are targeting a total of 211,463 participants to be involved in various sports events based on programmes that will be held in Kuching and other divisions during the celebration which is expected to be officiated by our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

It was not last year due to Covid19 pandemic but this time round, the event will also be held in a hybrid format and it will be broadcasted via Sarawak’s Youth and Sports Department official Facebook page, so that those from other divisions across the state can witness the exciting event.

Kudos to HSN2021 which is a federal government’s initiative aimed at encouraging local folks to be active in sports and also ensuring that they would remain fit and healthy, in addition to strengthening the sports industry in Malaysia.

Contact sports would not be conducted during HSN 2021 in compliance with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the activities that are to be held during the event which must always be complied with, including the wearing of face masks and social distancing.

In organising and running the programmes in Kuching or in other divisions in the state, all regulations and SOPs set by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and Ministry of Health must be complied with. Thus, we do hope that those involved in this celebration would strictly adhere to the SOPs when taking part in the sporting events that include aerobics, table tennis, Crossfit, as well as a ‘Fitness for Life’ webinar.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Calling on Semenanjung-based parties to exercise restraint and not to split us

In light of the recent issue on Perikatan Nasional (PN) plans in the forthcoming Sarawak's state elections (PRN), I have urged them not to spilt us by such actions. As the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president, I have mentioned to our media friends that they (PN) and other Peninsular-based political parties must learn from the United Malay National Organisation (Umno) in respecting how the state wants to be governed only by local political parties. 

The local media wanted my comments on recent statements by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Sarawak chief, Senator Jaziri Alkaf Abdillah Suffian’s on PN’s presence in Sarawak is to strengthen Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) position in the state. 

We cannot deny that any registered political parties in Malaysia’s democracy system have the rights to expand and be political anywhere in the country. PN Sarawak must realise and understand how Sarawakians’ wants and needs that can only be understood by its own people. 

Our local folks want us to be on our own and to have a Sarawak political party looking after the state. This is why GPS was formed. I have also reminded others that GPS is not part of PN and vice versa despite how friendly and supportive of each other. 

I have also pointed out that GPS had vouch for support to PN in the formation of Malaysian government for the purpose of having a stable government and for the sake of stability. Even though in Parliament we are friendly and supportive of PN, it does not mean that we are part of them. The formation of the Malaysian government before this was based on PN plus GPS and it is not GPS within PN, but we are actually partners. 

Back then when the situation was uncertain, it had posed so much difficulties for all of us including doing businesses and our daily lives affected especially when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. We were supportive because the country needed stability, however it does not mean that in Sarawak we are going to accept the party just like that. 

At the same time, I called on PN and Bersatu to learn the lessons from Umno because despite all these years and out of all the states in Malaysia, Umno is still not present in Sarawak. You can be our friend but the moment the state election is near and you suddenly start setting up liaison office here and there, we will become suspicious. What do you want? After this, are you going to tell us that you want some seats here? Learn from Umno, we respect them because they respect us.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Giving our full support to our Chief Minister on the achievements of Sarawak Government to reinstate eroded state powers

We fully support the recent statements made by our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the State Government which will be consulted on all federal legislations affecting Sarawak. Our Chief Minister had mentioned this was among the achievements made by the Sarawak government to reinstate eroded state powers.

According to him, our state government will be consulted in the drafting of federal legislations which have bearing or impact on the state government of Sarawak, where provided by law and he noted that we had made leaps and bounds in attaining eroded state powers.

This includes authorising state legal officers as authorised by the public prosecutor under the Criminal Procedure Code to conduct prosecution for offenc- es under state ordinances from the stage a person is charged in the lower court until the appeal stage. Similarly, the number of posts in the Sarawak Immigration Department is also being increased to improve the department’s enforcement functions in the state with the creation of 100 new posts.

Thirdly, increasing the ratio of Sarawak-born teachers serving in the state to about 90 percent of the total number of teachers in Sarawak and this to ensure that this target is achieved, temporary teachers from the open market are to be considered from time to time. On development initiatives, Our Chief Minister had announced the  priority would be given to the five-year Sarawak State Development Plan for planning of federal projects in the state based on the approved budget. 

Thus, the implementation of the projects will be referred or negotiated between the Federal Ministry and the state government such as determining the location of schools, hospitals and the implementation of other development projects particularly in rural areas.