Thursday, 31 December 2020

Challenging Opposition leaders to come and join our New Year 2021 celebrations

I have challenged our local opposition leaders are challenged to attend the New Year 2021 eve celebrations at our State Indoor Stadium in Petra Jaya which has a capacity of 5,000 and for this event but we only accommodating 1,000 guests in which is one-fifth of the capacity.  We fully understood the stipulated requirements and thus, we know what we are doing.

Life has to go on. And we believe if we do it safely by following strict SOPs, life may continue amid the threat of COVID19 pandemic and our New Year Countdown is being organised for showing appreciation to frontliners. I have told DAP not to politicise New Year Countdown and create an issue out of it including the learned YB Dr YKelvin Yii who tried to politicise it and made it look like as if we are trying to encourage the virus to spread but he must bear in mind, people need to go on.

Sarawak's COVID19 situation is different from that of Peninsular Malaysia which is still having high number of cases. We in Sarawak have managed our COVID19 situation and we are managing it quite well. Even the Ministry of Health (MoH) Director General, Tan Sri Nor Hisham Abdullah recently had also acknowledged on how well we had managed the situation.

Additionally, we also have the State Disaster Management Committee (SMDC) here and thus we decide for ourselves. Unless they (opposition) want us to have everything under Peninsular Malaysia. It seems to me that some opposition leaders always prefer to abide by directives from Kuala Lumpur only. Where as for Sarawak, we are autonomous. Even when come to things like this (holding event), we have the autonomy.

I therefore give the assurance that all entertainers, artistes as well as musicians who are performing for the event are all locals, except for Malaysia top artiste Dayang Nurfaizah who is also a Sarawakian but she needed to fly back home from Kuala Lumpur. She has been tested negative and she will only stay in Sarawak for 72 hours before she will fly back to Kuala Lumpur. There is no need to make a fuss out of it.

Our Sarawak New Year Countdown themed “Sarawak Di Ambang 2021” is being held at our State Indoor Stadium where tickets are needed for admission. It is specially organised to show appreciation to frontliners who will make up to be the attendees for the event and there is nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Advisable for travellers to check with SDMC if flights are approved before buying tickets

Recently, travellers who are planning to come into Sarawak are advised to check with Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) if the flights are approved by the committee before buying their tickets. This is important because our Ministry of Transport is working closely with Federal Ministry of Transport and other relevant authorities to ensure airlines strictly comply with decisions made by SDMC to curtail the spread of COVID19 in Sarawak.

SDMC's decisions in approving flights frequency into Sarawak was made after considering the alarming COVID19 situation in other states as well as the quantity of rooms and centres locally. There is also the need to facilitate movements of goods, people and our state's medical capacity in managing screening test.

For the convenience of those concerned, it is therefore advisable for future travellers to actually check first on the status of their flights which must be approved first by SDMC. Thus, the cooperation and support from everyone involved are much appreciated especially airline and airport operators as well as passengers who must play their roles in curbing the spread of COVID19 in Sarawak.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Looking forward to completion of infrastructure and facilities at Tusan Beach in Miri

We are excited and looking forward to the completion of the much awaited infrastructure and facilities at Tusan Beach in Miri which are funded by our State Government. The RM5 million project will include a food court, an observation tower, safety rails, footpaths for hikers and other back-to-nature facilities. Recently we were told that workers are currently doing a finishing touch-up to the facilities.  The upgrading and construction works at the beach would definitely help us to boost its popularity and attract more visitors especially locals. Among the new facility that had been complered is the long footpath that leads to the beach and the food court with a row of outdoor shower heads where visitors could clean themselves up after a dip in the nearby sea.

The Tusan Beach is actually located 40km from Miri City and it had always attracted widespread attention amongst locals as well as netizens who are captivated by the ‘blue tears’ natural phenomenon in which a bioluminescent plankton glows in brilliant blue hues displays. Previously the beach was also best known for its iconic ‘Drinking Horse’ cliff that was located about 600 metres away from the beach but sadly the natural rock formation collapsed on Feb 22 this year.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Commending Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak for a job well done in 2020

Recently I have commended the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MOTAC) for doing well in 2020. This include in formulating new policies and holding good governance that had provided some respite for our local tourism industry admist the COVID19 pandemic.

It is important for the ministry to be always proactive in assisting in facilitating the recovery of our local industry by involving all agencies under its wing which include Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), Sarawak Museum Department, Sarawak Arts Council (MSS) and Sarawak Crafts Council (SCC). I congratulated them for undertaking several initiatives that encourage domestic tourism which included the launch of the ‘Sia Sitok’ campaign in July this year.

On the same note, the pandemic had forced us to be resilent even though it had brought a negative impact to the industry as seen in the declining number of tourist arrivals. The number of tourists in Sarawak between January and November this year was only around 20,000, versus around 400,000 in the same period last year and this is dramatic drop of 71.56 per cent. Of course the very big drop is badly affecting the industry and industry players but we are very hopeful for next year in which Malaysia would be able to obtain the COVID19 vaccine to revitalise the tourism industry. Under the 11th Malaysian Plan, (11MP) Sarawak would be on the receiving end of more tourism products through completed and planned projects, he added. Among them would be the much awaited Borneo Cultural Museum, Wind Caves and Fairy Caves, Bakam Point, Wireless Walk, Dalat Waterfront, Wallace Centre, and the restoration of the various forts such as Fort Emma, Fort Lily, Fort Brooke, Fort Alice and Fort Hose. We are also excited with having the Sarawak Arts Council which would be operating as a statutory body effective this January 1 next year.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Kudos to Abot Gudang and Sandra Trinatta for their WCC award

Heartiest congratulations to Abot Gudang and Sandra Trinatta, both from Bau who had made us proud after winning the Excellent Craft Award 2020 from the World Crafts Council (WCC) Asia Pacific held two weeks ago in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Abot who is from Singai while Sandra from Serikin Bau have collaborated to produce the art work entitled “The Glow Tree of Life” in more than 10 days. Certainly we are excited by the international recognition given to our local craftsmen and it is the innovative technique that they had used which have won them this wonderful award. I am equally pleased to be invited by the Sarawak Crafts Council Centre to present the award to both of them in a brief function held at the Kuching Waterfront this morning.

Abot is one of the local craftsmen who specialises in producing a glowing effect on the art pieces using glow paints while Sandra on the other hand did the weaving, which is made of rattan. Despite the hard work and time consuming processes but they both have delivered one of the best craft works which has a market of its own.

I have also congratulated the advisor of Society Atelier of Sarawak, YBhg Datin Dayang Mariani Abang Zain and her president, Eric Ong for supporting the submission of the local masterpiece which has won the international award which was created during the COVID19 pandemic.

The artwork was also commissioned by the Society Atelier of Sarawak for the proposed "Fiber Arts of the Asia Pacific Exhibition and Symposium" scheduled in July this year as part of the Rainforest World Music Fringe Festival but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Sandra had also produced the popular “tikar gelasah” which is now a well sought-after Bidayuh craft products especially among customers throughout the country.

A modest scale countdown to usher the coming new year 2021

Despite facing the challenges due to COVID19 situation, we have decided to have a modest scale countdown to usher the New Year 2021 which will be held at our State Indoor Stadium in Petra Jaya and not at the usual place at the popular Kuching Waterfront.

I have informed our local media fraternity during a press conference held this morning that the event is to be held at the indoor stadium here to adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) to curb the spread of Covid19 and among the evening's programme will include a showcase Sarawak’s rich cultural heritage, especially the state’s arts, and dances of the various communities.

We will comply with all the SOPs to be held at the Indoor Stadium as well as outside and at least we get to celebrate New Year 2021 in a moderate way. That is something to look forward to after one year of staying in our rooms.

I also think that we deserve to have it but then we have to make sure that the organizing committee and the entertainment programmes will comply with the necessary SOPwhere there would be fireworks to usher in the new year which all of us are looking forward to.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Echoing our Chief Minister's confidence for Sarawak to become a high-income nation and developed state by 2030

Recently our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg had expressed confidence for Sarawak to become a high-income and developed state by 2030, by focusing on the digital and knowledge-based economy.

He said this during opening ceremony of this year's State Civil Service Innovation Convention Awards (SCSICA) held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) where he mentioned that Sarawak government is learning from two countries, namely Estonia, in terms of their digital infrastructure development, and South Korea, for their knowledge-based economy.

According to him, Estoniais recognised as one of the most advanced digital societies in the world, while South Korea has been focusing on education, science, technology and innovation to produce quality manpower. 

He was spot on when mentioning the need for Sarawak to have quality workforce, especially in our civil service, which is a key factor to drive Sarawak to become a high-income state by 2030. the modern era, citizens were better educated with ready access to technologies that not only force governments to be more transparent but also to rethink notions of transparency.

“We need to modernise service delivery that focuses on citizen-centred and approach-based outcomes. The people are expecting more efficient and effective service. Therefore, I would like to pose this new challenge to all in the civil service, that these citizen-centric innovative solutions be further developed and improved. The civil service plays an important role in helping the government to develop the state and to become closer with the people,” he said.


Excitement with recent discovery of several artifacts at Central Police Station in Kuching

I was equally excited with the discovery of several artifacts, including a glass pill bottle believed to have been made in London back in the 1880s, which were found during excavation works for a sewerage project in the compound of #Kuching Central Police Station this morning. 

It is learnt from our State Museum Department officials that most of the discoveries were in the form of pottery either from China or Europe and possibly from the Middle East.  These artifacts were brought back to the Museum Department so that they can perform an analysis to see the background history and the year when they were made. According to our Museum Department deputy director, Dayang Morzanah Awang Haddy, they had received a report on the findings from the Public Works Department (JKR).

In view of this, she said a site study work is being carried out by the department’s Archaeological Unit. Under the Sarawak Heritage Ordinance 2019, any findings by the general public in the form of old artifacts must be reported to the Sarawak Museum Department or a report to be submitted to the department immediately.

Among the studies being done are on the land and cultural layers found at the discovery site as well as the history of the construction of the police station itself to determine whether there were old settlements or rivers in the area. Back in 2018, excavation works carried out around Padang Pasir which is nearby our Masjid Bahagian Kuching had also led to the discovery of old railway tracks.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

We fully support the call for our Orang Ulu com­mu­nity to stay united and to continue sup­port our Chief Min­is­ter and the rul­ing Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coali­tion

We fully support the call by State Assem­bly­man for Mulu, YB Dato Ger­awat Gala for our Orang Ulu com­mu­nity to stay united and to continue sup­port our Chief Min­is­ter and the rul­ing Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coali­tion in the next state elec­tion to en­sure con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in main­stream de­vel­op­ment.

Our Orang Ulu community mak­es up about 6 per cent or 180,000 of Sarawak’s pop­u­la­tion and therefore it is im­por­tant for them to have more rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the govern­ment of the day. Presently we have two ( Orang Ulu rep­re­sen­ta­tives) out of 222 par­lia­men­tary seats and six out of 82 state assem­bly seats. 

As what YB Gerawat had mentioned that we want Ba Ke­lalan to be with us in GPS so that all 6 seats held by Orang Ulus are in GPS. By be­ing to­gether, the community can be­come stronger and their voices will be louder.

YB Datuk Ger­awat who is also State Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly Deputy Speaker was speak­ing at the earth-break­ing cer­e­mony of Fed­er­a­tion of Orang Ulu As­so­ci­a­tions Sarawak (FORUM) Mul­ti­pur­pose Hall and Re­source Cen­tre here yes­ter­day which was of­fi­ci­ated by our Chief Min­is­ter on 15 December in Jalan Padang Kerbau, Miri.

YB Datuk Ger­awat who is also FORUM ad­vi­sor had also re­minded those who vote for the op­po­si­tion that while their ac­tions would not af­fect the run­ning of the GPS govern­ment, it would how­ever neg­a­tively af­fect the com­mu­nity at large. He mentioned the govern­ment will be rul­ing the state as usual. But it is the Orang Ulu com­mu­nity who are at loss. 

He said the state govern­ment un­der the lead­er­ship of Datuk Patinggi Abang Jo­hari has proven it­self to be car­ing and in­clu­sive through its poli­cies, and cited the ap­proval of land and build­ings for Dayak Cul­tural Foun­da­tion, Dayak Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, Sarawak Malay As­so­ci­a­tion, Fed­er­a­tion of Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tions Sarawak, Fo­rum as well as Unit for Other Re­li­gions, as ex­am­ples.

All these add up to more than RM180 mil­lion and it shows that our govern­ment looks out for its peo­ple re­gard­less of their back­ground. On behalf of the Orang Ulu community, YB Datuk Gerawat ex­pressed hope for the State Govern­ment would be able to ful­fil some of the re­quests put for­ward by the Orang Ulu com­mu­nity by next year.

Among the re­quests put forward include for the govern­ment to con­tinue the de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture and ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties to re­mote vil­lages; re­lo­cate long­houses that face flood risks sev­eral times each year; and ex­pe­dite the de­vel­op­ment of a bor­der se­cu­rity road. The bor­der se­cu­rity road will pro­vide im­proved and much needed con­nec­tiv­ity for many in­te­rior set­tle­ments and will open up huge ar­eas and cre­ate new eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Orang Ulu heart­land in Ulu Tru­san, Ulu Lim­bang, Ulu Ke­mena, and Ulu Re­jang among oth­ers. During the function, it was mentioned that Phase One of the RM25-mil­lion FORUM Build­ing is ex­pected to com­mence this month and com­plete within 18 months.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

No such thing of changing Sarawak's name to Darul Hana!

We are unhappy with the recent allegations levelled at our State Government on the issue of using the term "Darul Hana" to describe our State, Sarawak and our Right Honourable Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg had also refuted this.

Our Chief Minister was equally surprised to hear that there were certain quarters who had alleged this because if the Sarawak government is going to do so, he should be the first to know about it.

During our interview with local media friends after officiating the 24th anniversary celebration of Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) Padawan held yesterday morning (14 December), Datuk Patinggi Abang Jo had mentioned there are people who just want to raise issues because at the moment there are no issues to go against our State Government.

He was asked to comment by our media friends on the recent uproar over the term ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’, which was triggered by a Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) Sarawak greeting on social media platform which was rolled off last year.

Our Chief Minister had stressed that the State Government only uses the term ‘Darul Hana’ to name bridges, housing development and mosques which include the iconic Darul Hana Bridge at Kuching Waterfront, Darul Hana Housing and Darul Hana Mosque at the resettlement area of Seberang Hilir in Petra Jaya.

According to him, the State Government cannot simply use the term Darul Hana to refer to Sarawak because this need to be approved first by the State Legislative Assembly.

PAS Sarawak on 13 December had defended its use of Darul Hana to describe Sarawak and also denied claims by activists that the Islamic party was attempting to change Sarawak’s identity from a secular state to one that’s focus on a single religion. On Dec 6, five local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) namely Dayak Think Tank Assocation, Dayak National Congress, Sarawak Iban Association, Persatuan Balang Balai Nyabong, and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association Miri, had collectively said the continued use of Darul Hana could disrupt racial and religious harmony in the state. They had also accused PAS of distorting history as they said Sultan Tengah only ruled a small area around present-day Kuching and was only a minor portion of today’s modern Sarawak.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Meeting the last group of Bidayuh's Ring Ladies in Sarawak

It was an honour to meet the "Ring Ladies" of Kampung Semban in Padawan this morning and it was an inspiring experience to chat with them in person at the official launching ceremony of the mural art project on them which was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Padawan Municipal Council, NG Picture and Dian Kiara Sdn Bhd.

The mural on the these wonderful ladies itself is astounding because it measures 13.7m x 36.5m making itself the largest painting on a wall in Kuching. The painting started on June 30 and was completed on Sept 30 this year.

I have nothing but praises for the ring ladies namely Peluk Abeh, Tawud Luhan, Nyukan Genyai, Nyadi Dolah and Singai Nekan who are also members of the Kampung Semban cultural troupe. Previously they were often invited to perform at state and national events. Therefore, this group have definitely brought Sarawak's name to the global stage thanks to their performances at international festivals which include in Milan, Italy and Berlin, Germany.

Back in 2016, the group had performed at the Lo Spirito Del Pianeta, an international festival of indigenous people and tribal groups held in Milan, Italy while in 2019, they were invited to participate in ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Borse) held in Berlin, Germany which is the largest International Tourism Mart in the world.

These wonderful ladies aged from 69 to 94 years in age and back in 2010, there were eight of them but  in 2015 there only six of them left after two had demised. Presently, there are only five of them. The idea for us to have the mural art was inspired following the premiere of the Sarawakian-made documentary “The Last Ring Ladies” on international broadcasting channels NHK (Japan), KBS (Korea), and PTS (Taiwan) since August 2019. On the same note, we take the opportunity to thank our Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg for being kind in attending the launching ceremony this morning in conjunction with the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP)’s 24th Anniversary.

My comments on the suggestion for Perikatan Na­sional (PN), Barisan Na­sional (BN) and Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to have to sign a for­mal char­ter together

There has been a lot of talks on the suggestion for Perikatan Na­sional (PN), Barisan Na­sional (BN) and Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to have to sign a for­mal char­ter for the coming General Elections. To my opinion and response,  there is no need for us todo that because it would only show there is dis­trust among the three coali­tions. I have mentioned to our Media friends that GPS saw no rea­son for the three en­ti­ties to af­firm sup­port to each other through a for­mal char­ter, adding that GPS has al­ways been friendly with both PN and BN through their com­ing to­gether to form the fed­eral govern­ment.

To me, a for­mal char­ter like that among good friends is not nec­es­sary. It’s just like a mar­ried cou­ple – after mar­riage there is no need for the hus­band and wife to sign an­other for­mal agree­ment. We are al­ready close to each other. We have set up the govern­ment to­gether and we al­ready have a good un­der­stand­ing with each other. The mo­ment you sign a for­mal char­ter only re­flects that you don’t trust each other. So you don’t have to sign it.

I was com­ment­ing on the pro­posal which suggested last Fri­day by PN sec­re­tary-gen­eral Datuk Seri Hamzah Zain­ud­din for PN, BN and GPS to ink a for­mal char­ter of po­lit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing to en­sure they jointly con­test the next gen­eral elec­tion. Datuk Seri Hamzah, who is also sec­re­tary­gen­eral of Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia (Ber­satu), said the sign­ing of a char­ter would give the peo­ple con­fi­dence that the three en­ti­ties were po­lit­i­cally sta­ble and ca­pa­ble of gov­ern­ing the coun­try, and en­sure that they would con­tinue to rule in the next term while also tak­ing over the Op­po­si­tion states.

Com­ment­ing fur­ther, I have said that PN, BN and GPS should in­stead nur­ture the good re­la­tion­ship they have been hav­ing since tak­ing over Putrajaya from Pakatan Hara­pan. I have also pointed out that GPS has no in­ten­tion of field­ing can­di­dates in the penin­sula in the next gen­eral elec­tion – an­other rea­son why there was no need to sign any char­ter with PN and BN.

You (PN and BN) don’t have to worry about us (con­test­ing in Penin­su­lar Malaysia). If there is any­thing to worry about, it’s you want­ing to come to our state and then con­test­ing in our state which Sarawakians are not very happy about. The main rea­son why GPS was formed was so that Sarawak will be ad­min­is­tered by Sarawak’s own par­ties and lead­ers. With the main theme and slo­gan of ‘Sarawak First’, GPS wants to look after the state the way Sarawakians want it to.

You (PN and BN) look after your re­gion, we look after ours. But we will re­main friendly to each other be­cause we want to see a sta­ble fed­eral govern­ment. That is the rea­son why we sup­port PN. Not to say we are tak­ing ad­van­tage, but we want to see a sta­ble govern­ment whereby the econ­omy can de­velop and bloom.

Suggesting to Kota Sa­ma­ra­han Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (MPKS) to be strict with our local hawkers in Tambirat, Samarahan

I have recently suggested to Kota Sa­ma­ra­han Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (MPKS) to em­u­late Sibu Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (SMC) measures by re­vok­ing the li­cence of traders who have failed to open their shops for busi­ness for days.This is because the ac­tions of such traders are akin to rob­bing the liveli­hood of those who were keen to op­er­ate but un­able to se­cure a li­cence due to the un­avail­abil­ity of trad­ing spa­ces. We have to be strict and must discipline them. Fol­low the SMC way where those who have trad­ing li­cences must open up shop al­most ev­ery day.

I think if these traders only open shop ac­cord­ing to sea­son, re­voke their trad­ing li­cences and if we refer  to the reg­u­la­tion im­ple­mented by SMC at its Sun­day Mar­ket near Jalan In­dah, those li­censed hawk­ers who have been al­lo­cated trad­ing space risk hav­ing their per­mits re­voked if they fail to turn up to trade for more than two days with­out pro­vid­ing the coun­cil with valid rea­sons. As such, their va­cated trad­ing space would then be made avail­able to oth­ers who had ap­plied for the trad­ing lots.

I have mentioned this dur­ing the earth-break­ing cer­e­mony for the new Kam­pung Tam­bi­rat Hawker Cen­tre last Sunday and I have also warned that the new RM7-mil­lion cen­tre could end up look­ing dull and un­de­r­oc­cu­pied if not all of the tak­enup lots were to open for busi­ness daily. We must remember that when cus­tomers or vis­i­tors come and see this, they would tell oth­ers what they saw and news of the dull and un­oc­cu­pied Kam­pung Tam­bi­rat Hawker Cen­tre would spread, giv­ing a bad im­pres­sion of it.

There­fore we have to be strict. If a trader does not open shop for more than five days in a row with­out valid rea­sons, re­voke his trad­ing li­cence. There are other traders who are keen to open shop there; bet­ter give them that op­por­tu­nity. I hope the construction of the Kam­pung Tam­bi­rat Hawker Cen­trewill be­gin im­me­di­ately and it is ex­pected to be com­pleted within 12 months. Once com­pleted, the facility would be un­der the purview of MPKS and have at least 80 trad­ing lots.

The con­struc­tion of the centre was orig­i­nally planned to start in the mid­dle of this year but had to be de­layed due to the Covid-19 pan­demic. This is one of sev­eral projects un­der the In­te­grated Re­gional Sarawak De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (IRSDA) be­ing de­vel­oped in Asajaya, par­tic­u­larly Kam­pung Tam­bi­rat – the big­gest vil­lage in Asajaya. I had also high­lighted the RM31-mil­lion Tam­bi­rat Wa­ter­front project which will be­gin con­struc­tion soon, to­gether with the RM35-mil­lion 900m-em­bank­ment project along the Batang Sa­ma­ra­han river­bank in Kam­pung Tam­bi­rat. Both projects which were an­nounced last year are cur­rently in the ten­der process and should be com­pleted within 24 months once con­struc­tion begins, he added.

Hoping for the Covid19 pan­demic to be over soon so that na­tions can start re­open­ing their borders soon

During our recent visit to the Loa­gan Bunut Na­tional Park in Ulu Baram, I have expressed hope for the Covid19 pan­demic to be over soon so that na­tions can start re­open­ing their borders and for us in Malaysia as well as in Sarawak, we can once again wel­come tourists to our shores.

We have actually prepared a lot of plans and strate­gies to be im­ple­mented in post-pan­demic and places such as in Ulu Baram is a wonderful site of in­ter­est for tourists. The re­gion as a whole could be con­sid­ered a tourism prod­uct – from its vast fer­tile land to the lo­cal cul­ture – which could a ract both lo­cal and for­eign vis­i­tors. For this rea­son, myself and our entourage from Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MOTACS), Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) have chosen to take the 2-hour jour­ney from Miri to Long Lama town just to visit Loa­gan Bunut Na­tional Park so that all of us could see first-hand the tourism po­ten­tial in north­ern re­gion of the state.

Loagan Bunut is also the state’s largest nat­u­ral lake lo­cated in the park and it could be­come part of the tour itin­er­ary once the road link­ing Miri city to Kuala Melinau and Long Lama town is com­pleted in the next few years. I also be­lieve what Loa­gan Bunut Na­tional Park of­fers to lo­cals or in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors can­not be found in any other na­tional parks we have in Sarawak. There­fore once our ru­ral roads are im­proved, it will en­able cre­ative pack­ag­ing to be done by tour op­er­a­tors and will def­i­nitely open up a wide range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cals to par­tic­i­pate in the tourism in­dus­try. Another important aspect is also on good con­nec­tiv­ity will also en­able those who love trav­el­ling on their own to add to lo­cal tourism. These are among the success factors which will help us in making our recovery efforts a reality.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

No need to argue on the recent com­mer­cial set­tle­ment agree­ment be­tween the state govern­ment and Petro­liam Na­sional Ber­had (Petronas)

We fully support our Right Honourable Chief Minister's #AbangJo who recently said only time will tell whether Sarawak and its people have been short­changed in the com­mer­cial set­tle­ment agree­ment be­tween the state govern­ment and Petro­liam Na­sional Ber­had (Petronas).

He was right when having said there was no need to ar­gue with cer­tain quar­ters who thought oth­er­wise.

“Time will tell whether it (agree­ment) is cor­rect or not. We don’t have to ar­gue be­cause we have the rights al­ready,” he told our media friends when met after of­fi­ci­at­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of Ma’had Tah­fiz Tun Ab­dul Rah­man Ya’kub (Mat­tary) at Ma­jma Tuanku Ab­dul Halim Muadzam Shah Hall held on 10 December.

Our chief min­is­ter was asked to com­ment on the recent state­ment made by Batu Lin­tang's State As­sem­bly­man YB See Chee How who be­lieved that we had been short­changed in the com­mer­cial set­tle­ment agree­ment with Petronas.

YB See Chee How is a member of Parti Sarawak Ber­satu (PSB) pres­i­den­tial coun­cil mem­ber and had said that what was most dis­ap­point­ing and un­ac­cept­able to Sarawakians was the fact that the state govern­ment had con­ceded ground on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity and le­gal­ity of the ap­pli­ca­tion of the pro­vi­sions in the Pe­tro­leum De­vel­op­ment Act (PDA) 1974.

The Sarawak govern­ment and Petronas had recently signed the com­mer­cial set­tle­ment agree­ment on is­sues in­volv­ing the state’s sales tax and oil min­ing laws which would es­tab­lish a frame­work be­tween the na­tional oil com­pany and the state govern­ment that would see Sarawak more ac­tively in­volved in its on­shore oil and gas ac­tiv­i­ties through Pe­tro­leum Sarawak Bhd (Pet­ros).

Both Petronas and the state govern­ment agreed to es­tab­lish a con­sul­ta­tive frame­work to en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion through a struc­tured and for­malised av­enue com­pris­ing a joint co­or­di­na­tion com­mit­tee and an an­nual strate­gic di­a­logue. Th­ese plat­forms will be co-chaired by Abang Jo­hari and Petronas chair­man Tan Sri Ah­mad Nizam Salleh.

Sarawak had prepared 117 events and festivals to promote and attract tourists in 2021

Kudos to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MTACS) which has listed a total of 117 events and festivals under next year's Sarawak Tourism Calendar of Events to promote tourism and attract tourists to Sarawak. 

Our 2021 calendar of events was announced by the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture YB Datuk Sebastian Ting yesterday after he chaired the Sarawak Tourism Coordination Committee (STCC) meeting held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) in Jalan Bako. It's a fact that in 2020, we have facied a difficult time due Covid19 pandemic and the tourism industry is severely affected. 

Our State Government through MTACS ministry has however worked hard to prepare and focus on preparation for 2021. Out of that 105 events were managed to be held throughout the state this year, he said among the new events included in the 2021 tourism calendarwill be the opening of the Borneo Cultural Museum (expected in March) as well as the World Rainforest Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Music Festival, Benak Festival, Borneo Cultural Festival and Sarawak Regatta.  also congratulate the ministry for having to focus next on community-based or domestic events because the state’s tourism industry had been affected by the Covid19 pandemic.

Rebuking allegations made by our former government backbencher

Recently I have rebuked the allegations made by our former government backbencher, YB Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa who claimed Sarawak GPS Government had failed to develop rural areas.

As the Vice President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), I have described Engkilili assemblyman Johnical Rayong Ngipa as a “confused man” because over the years our State Government had a good development track record. We have always been emphasising rural development, hence, GPS has strength in the rural areas. I think he is a confused guy because he forgot that he was with the state ruling coalition all these years before joining Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).

Prior to joining PSB, YB Rayong was a former leader in the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party which is also a component of GPS. If the current GPS government had failed to develop the rural areas in the state, what was he doing back then? Does it mean he was a failed assemblyman or he suddenly becomes a good one after joining PSB. I did not want to sound arrogant but we are “puzzled” with YB Rayong’s claim that PSB could do better.