Tuesday, 13 April 2021

We need in­te­grated ef­forts and pro­grammes so that Sarawak's dru­g abuse is­sues could be ad­dressed

Recently the Na­tional An­tiDrugs Agency (AADK) has iden­ti­fied three ar­eas in Sarawak that are con­sid­ered ‘high-risk’ in terms of drug abuse and these include Kam­pung Tabuan Me­layu and Matang in Kuch­ing and Bekenu. According to AADK, the sta­tis­tics of those who are in­volved in drug-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties in th­ese three ar­eas are rel­a­tively high.

As such, we need in­te­grated ef­forts and pro­grammes that should be car­ried out in th­ese ar­eas so that the dru­g abuse is­sues could be ad­dressed and the aware­ness of the dan­gers of drugs could be in­stilled among our com­mu­nity members.

Yesterday I chaired the state-level An­ti Drug Ac­tion Coun­cil meet­ing held at Baitul Mak­mur Build­ing and as the Chairman of the Drugs Preven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia (Pe­madam) Sarawak, I have informed our media friends that the ‘high-risk’ iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of th­ese three ar­eas did not mean that other ar­eas in Sarawak which were drug-free.

During the press conference held after the meeting I have mentioned that if we look at the drug is­sues in Sarawak, they are not lim­ited to the ur­ban ar­eas as based on the feed­back re­ceived from AADK and the po­lice, they show that drug abuse has spread up into the in­te­ri­ors of ev­ery district and af­fected var­i­ous racial com­mu­ni­ties in the state.

It was also agreed that a ‘Pusat Pemuli­han Akhlak’ (PPA) would be set up in Sarawak in view of the in­crease in the num­ber of drug of­fend­ers un­der the Spe­cial Pre­ven­tive Mea­sures Act. Presently Sarawak does not have a PPA and there are only four re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres in Malaysia with one each in Sim­pang Rengam and Muar, both in Jo­hor, Machang in Ke­lan­tan and Batu Ga­jah in Perak.

We want Sarawak to have this cen­tre so that those who ar­rested for drug of­fences in the state could be placed here, in­stead of them be­ing sent to Penin­su­lar Malaysia. I have also ex­pressed hope for the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment would con­sider the pro­posal of es­tab­lish a PPA in Sarawak. The fight against drugs re­quires a more com­pre­hen­sive en­force­ment, clearer le­gal as­pects as well as a more ef­fi­cient se­cu­rity man­age­ment.

We need to tackle the is­sue of drug abuse to­gether be­cause this prob­lem can­not be man­aged overnight and it re­quires con­tin­u­ous ef­fort from all the rel­e­vant agen­cies, as well as from the com­mu­nity.

Sarawak now has 1,000 Grab drivers under our Sarawak Tourism Ambassadors Programme

Kudos to Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) for having cer­ti­fied 1,000 Grab driv­ers for e-learn­ing un­der their pro­gramme to groom as ‘Sarawak tourism am­bas­sadors’. I hoped that all e-hail­ing driv­ers concerned would be an asset to us after being equipped with the knowl­edge to be shared with our future vis­i­tors once the bor­ders are open. Similarly, for our ‘Sarawak Am­bas­sadors Pro­gramme’ to suc­ceed, we also need solid sup­port from all the in­dus­try and the tourism play­ers.

We thank Grab Malaysia who had collaborated with STB to ensure the success of the ‘Sarawak Am­bas­sadors Pro­gramme which is tar­get­ing the first 1,000 out of 5,000 e-hail­ing driv­ers based in Kuch­ing, Sibu, Bin­tulu and Miri. The pro­gramme for Co­hort 2 com­menced im­me­di­ately af­ter STB had at­tained the first 1,000 driv­ers.

The programme is avail­able in English, Ba­hasa Malaysia and Man­darin with the mod­ules cover key in­for­ma­tion about Sarawak, its cul­ture and her­itage as well as the tourist des­ti­na­tions in all re­gions – namely the state’s south­ern, cen­tral and north­ern zones. The par­tic­i­pat­ing e-hail­ing driv­ers would have ac­cess to Grab Malaysia’s ‘Ax­onify’ – its e-learn­ing plat­form set up un­der Grab Academy.

The fa­cil­i­ta­tor of the mod­ules is Akademi Hospi­tal­iti & Pe­lan­con­gan Sau­jana Sdn Bhd (SATT Col­lege) cov­er­ing the south­ern, cen­tral and the north­ern re­gions of Sarawak. 

At the same time, I have called on all of our tourism play­ers and part­ners to come for­ward to­gether as ‘one big tourism fam­ily’ in em­bracing the new pro­grammes and ini­tia­tives in­tro­duced amidst the Covid-19 pan­demic. The pan­demic can be seen as a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for in­dus­try play­ers to re­think tourism in Sarawak. Thus, I am con­fi­dent that the mea­sures put in place by our gov­ern­ment would shape the ‘tourism of to­mor­row’ and also Sarawak.

This is equally important because as cus­to­di­ans of Sarawak tourism, we are con­tin­u­ously strate­gis­ing and re-strate­gis­ing to pre­pare and en­sure com­pre­hen­sive tourism re­cov­ery plans. We are also do­ing all there is to im­prove and re­build des­ti­na­tions, to en­cour­age in­no­va­tion, and re-think the tourism sec­tor, while fac­ing chal­lenges dur­ing this pan­demic.

I also expressed hope that as Sarawak would move to this ‘re­cov­ery’ phase, busi­nesses would be up and run­ning – ‘slowly but surely'. We must continue to be­lieve that with ev­ery chal­lenge and strug­gle that the peo­ple were cur­rently fac­ing, there was ‘al­ways light at the end of the tun­nel’. At the min­istry, we have taken sev­eral mea­sures to im­ple­ment strin­gent stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures (SOP) and the new norms in trav­el­ling are be­ing put in place. Thus, we are also col­lab­o­rat­ing with in­dus­try play­ers to de­vise plans to help sus­tain tourism busi­nesses in Sarawak.

My comments on newspaper reports of BERSATU contesting in coming Sarawak elections

There was a lot of talk on the recent issue of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU) standing in our state election under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ticket but as far as we are concerned there is no room for them to do so be­cause the state coali­tion had already iden­ti­fied its can­di­dates to stand in all the 82 seats. 

Speaking as the Vice President of Parti Pe­saka Bu­mi­put­era Ber­satu (PBB), I have mentioned to our media friends on April 12 during a press conference held at my office is that in or­der for a can­di­date to be en­dorsed by GPS for the elec­tion, he or she must come from one of the four com­po­nent par­ties of the coali­tion namely PBB, Sarawak United Peo­ple’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Pro­gres­sive Demo­cratic Party (PDP).

GPS has already iden­ti­fied its can­di­dates in all 82 seats for the next state elec­tion which means that all of th­ese can­di­dates are from GPS. Where BERSATU comes in on this, it’s hard for me to say. When we cross the bridge, we will de­cide on this.

This issue had surfaced after BERSATU's Supreme Coun­cil mem­ber, Datuk Zu­raida Ka­marud­din’s state­ment on April 11, that the Semenanjung-based party will be plac­ing its can­di­date to stand in the coming 12th Sarawak's elec­tion un­der the GPS ticket.

If there were can­di­dates from BERSATU and GPS con­test­ing in the state elec­tion, it may cause con­fu­sion among our local voters. If there are dual party mem­bers, say one is from Ber­satu and one is from GPS, that can be a lit­tle bit con­fus­ing. They have to make up their mind.

Nev­er­the­less, I have mentioned GPS would ad­dress this is­sue prop­erly be­cause the coali­tion sup­ports Perikatan Na­sional (PN) at the Fed­eral level. PN was es­tab­lished for the sake of sta­bil­ity with the sup­port of GPS. We also hope that PN will re­cip­ro­cate when we are fac­ing our state elec­tion. At present, ev­ery­body knows... it’s ac­knowl­edged by PN and Ber­satu that they sup­port GPS as the gov­ern­ment for Sarawak.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Wishing all Muslims may the blessing of holy Ramadan be upon us and may Allah SWT protects us all

I take this opportunity to wish all Muslims may the blessings of holy month of Ramadan be upon us and may Allah SWT grant our prayers and accept the fasting we will be performing. Let us pray together for Allah to us give all the prosperity and success. May Allah bless of us with good health and protect us from harm especially in keeping COVID-19 away. The holy month of Ramadan teaches us to practice self discipline, pious and at the same time having empathy for those who are less fortunate and in need. Thus, lets all of us to be generous and  perform the zakat in fulfilling our obligations.  

Calling on GPS to continue working hard even in areas known to be our stronghold

I have expressed my views on the importance for us in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to continue working hard even in areas which are known to be our stronghold. I have also mentioned that there must be good cooperation and planning that should be done to ensure victory in all the areas contested by the ruling coalition in the next Sarawak elections (PRN).

As such, I have reminded our fellow Sarawakians to realise that GPS had done so much for Sarawak which could be seen by the various developments brought by the coalition in the state. We have seen how Sarawak was under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. Many projects were cancelled and had it not been for GPS… these projects will never see the light of day.

Thus, I have stressed that if Sarawakians want to continue enjoying more development, they should look back at the time when PH was the Federal government when many projects like the Pan Borneo Highway and other construction projects were delayed or cancelled. Under the PH government, the Rambungan and Batang Lupar bridge projects were cancelled as well.

Hence, in order to save the situation, the GPS government had come forward to continue all projects that had been cancelled by the previous PH government. I have advised our GPS elected representatives to always be on the ground to serve the people ad I believe the people would like it if their elected representative is constantly meeting, talking and listening to their people.