Wednesday, 26 August 2020

PEMADAM Sarawak coordination committee members urged to double efforts in raising public awareness

As the Chairman of Sarawak Chapter of Drug Prevention Association  of Malaysia #Pemadam I have called upon our local coordination committee members to double up their efforts in raising public awareness of substance abuse and ways to eradicate it.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are forced to re-evaluate and adopt new ways of running things. We are now living in the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced us to strictly follow the standard operating procedures #SOP. This also includes the way we conduct public awareness programmes that are now restricted to a limited number of attendees at any public gathering or activity.

I spoke on this at the 74th Coordination Committee meeting at Merdeka Palace and Suites Hotel on 25 August and Pemadam Sarawak, like any other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), must comply with the SOP set by the authorities such as the State Disaster Management Committee #SDMC and Ministry of Health #MOH for everyone’s safety, as well as to keep Covid-19 infection at bay.

We need to keep up with the latest policies with regard to public gatherings and activities in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. Our fight against substance abuse and its menace will never stop despite the restriction caused by Covid-19, but our compliance with the SOP is still crucial in ensuring that public’s health and safety are always safeguarded.

I have also suggested that one of the ways to disseminate information on Pemadam programmes and activities to the people under the new norm would be to make use of social media, as the people particularly the younger generation rely on the Internet as their source of news, entertainment and social network.

There is a need for us to leverage on the popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube because the local folk, especially the youngsters, are always on the Internet – be it for entertainment, socialising with friends or even the latest news on current issues.

Our coordination committee members must always keep themselves abreast with the latest trends in organising public engagement strategies, particularly when technology now plays a big part in the new normal. My thanks to our Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who is also Pemadam Sarawak vice-chairperson for attending the meeting with us.

Friday, 21 August 2020

What DAPSY did was tantamount to vandalism

Like everyone else, I am not amused with what the Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth #DAPSY did to the road signs in #Kuching city centre which is tantamount to vandalism and I am sure the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) and the relevant authority must be firm on this matter.

We simply cannot have two sets of laws whereby when ordinary persons desecrate a public property, they would be charged in court, but if DAP leaders did it, they go scot-free. 

I thanked our #media friends who requested my comments on the recent actions of #DAPSY whose members pasted Chinese characters on road signs at Jalan Main Bazaar, Wayang Street and Jalan Green Hill on August 20.

I have also stressed that the police and DBKU must haul up these rascals and charge them in court. The issue here is not about language and signage. The issue is about public property being openly vandalised and the authority cannot just sit still.

We all know Malaysia is a multi-racial and a multi-religious country with Bahasa Malaysia as the official language. In Sarawak itself, English is the second official language. If DAP feels that Mandarin should be the third official language, they should raise it up in Parliament or in the state assembly. They should not vandalise public properties just to put their ideas across.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Upgrading of Semenggoh Wildlife Centre lauded

Together we welcomed the recent announcement by #Sarawak government on the RM30 million allocation to upgrade facilities at the #Semenggoh Wildlife Centre by our Right Honourable Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to him, the allocation is divided into three stages and parked under the #Semenggoh #Rainforest Discovery Centre project, which will integrate and upgrade ecotourism facilities and products at #Semenggoh Nature Reserve and Botanical Research Centre to showcase Sarawak’s biodiversity and natural resources.

This will include for the upgrading of the entrance to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, a botanical garden and for the centre itself where within the botanical garden, there will also be a laboratory for research to be carried out on Sarawak’s biodiversity.

We applaud such efforts which are aimed is to make Sarawak the central hub for conservation and the Sarawak government is putting a lot of investment now to preserve the state's ‘green’ environment and to provide a space for public to carry out research on our biodiversity that will balance our efforts on conservation and habitat. 

By building a lab in the botanical garden, this will enable people to do research where they can collect samples and run preliminary studies which apart from that, Sarawak will also be upgrading the internet connectivity at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.

According to our Chief Minister, the centre will also have high-speed Internet to be implemented by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) in collaboration with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC). The improved connectivity will bring benefits to the local community and tourists whereby they can access and discover more on what is available at the centre. Such initiatives are important because the number of local and foreign visitors to the centre has increased the past few years.

The state government through SMA has also approved RM3 million for providing 100Mbps fibre-optic internet connectivity to nine national parks including Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bako National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, Tanjung Datu National Park, Kubah National Park, Matang Wildlife Centre, Similajau National Park, Niah National Park and Lambir Hills National Park.

The project, which is expected to be completed by July 2021, will enable visitors to download up-to-the-minute information on the park and the idea of ‘real-time’ ‘Instagramming’ on the park grounds will serve as a means to attract more tourists to the parks. The centre has received about one million visitors and it is now a well-known attraction which counts prominent people such as Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales; actress Michelle Yeoh and Hollywood star Steven Seagal among its visitors.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with International Orangutan Day the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and Sarawak Timber Association (STA) have handed over donations of RM50,000 each to SFC for orangutan conservation and upgrading of the feeding platform at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Launching of "Sia Sitok Sarawak" campaign will boost our local tourism industry

The launching of ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ intra-state tourism campaign has signifies the state government’s intention of revitalising our tourism sector, which has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign will not only benefit industry players including the tour and park guides and operators, but also Sarawakians wishing to enjoy domestic tourism and it serves as a stimulus package for the local while at the same time, it provides confidence towards revitalising the industry.

I believe this package is good for Sarawakians to explore the various products as well as tourist destinations across our homeland in which the state-funded initiative would also open up more employment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sectors, in that many industry players had lost their jobs due to the prolonged Movement Control Order (MCO) period, which was enforced to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections.

As such, we believe that with the launch of this campaign, we can gain confidence from the tourists, especially the locals, who will definitely revitalise this industry. There are over 30 intra-state packages offered including daytrips and non-overnight tours, as well as full-board multiple-day trips with accommodation and meals provided in Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Mulu.

We already kick off the campaign on July 15 and would conclude this Oct 15, initially set the travel period for the packages to run until Nov 30 this year but the travel period would be extended to December to give Sarawakians more opportunities to enjoy the packages offered under the campaign.

Among the packages covered are the Sarawak River Sunset Cruise, Irrawaddy Dolphin Cruise at Santubong, bird-watching at Kubah National Park, ‘Fun Dive’ day-trip at Satang Island, Evening Kuching Wetlands Tour, Bako National Park Tour, the full-board Tanjong Datu National Park Tour, and the golfing package at Eastwood Golf Club in Miri.

Adding on to that, the ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ campaign had been ‘delicately planned’ by Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) to include various packages with substantial discount offers of up to 50 per cent – all meant to help revive and boost local travels.

For a start, the campaign will first be open to Sarawak Covid-19 ‘frontline warriors and relief workers’ – namely the healthcare and medical personnel, Royal Malaysia Police, People’s Volunteers Corps (Rela), the Armed Forces, the Civil Defence Force, and Fire and Rescue Department.They are our heroes who truly deserve this priority treatment in appreciation for their hard work, and for putting their lives on the line to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

These packages would later be extended to all Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians residing in Sarawak (those with work permits) so that they too could experience ‘the beauty of Sarawak’ and take advantage of the many attractive tour products at affordable prices. Additionally, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) would initiate the ‘Interstate Package Sarawak’ by mid-September.

This is a wonderful public-private partnership initiative, where this is a package for us to encourage domestic travel involving those from Peninsular Malaysia. The ‘Interstate Package Sarawak’ will kick off in mid-September, with travelling period from October to December this year. This catalytic programme will activate our ‘Visitors Incentive Package’ (VIP) – created to provide Sarawak travel agencies with various support to facilitate tourist arrivals, both domestic and international.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Mere promises made by PKR Sarawak

Recently I have dis­missed the pledges made by Parti Kead­i­lan Rakyat ( PKR) Sarawak for the next state elec­tion which seems to be a ploy to fish for votes. Last Tues­day, PKR Sarawak made 10 pledges to Sarawakians it would ful­fill if it were to win the next state elec­tion.PKR Sarawak in­for­ma­tion chief Abun Sui Anyit said in a state­ment his party will fight cor­rup­tion and ini­ti­ate govern­ment re­forms if it were given the man­date by Sarawakians.I have pointed out most of the PKR pledges have al­ready been im­ple­mented by our state govern­ment and the of­fers made by the opposition are mere prom­ises and that the vot­ers have heard such pledges from the op­po­si­tion be­fore when the state elec­tion was near.

They (PKR Sarawak) seems to be run­ning out of ideas on how to get the sup­port from lo­cal folks and it is amus­ing for their can­di­dates to of­fer things that have al­ready been im­ple­mented by the state govern­ment for a very long time.

I have also said what the lo­cal com­mu­nity needs is to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with new norms based on stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures im­posed by State Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee. I am con­fi­dent that the peo­ple of. Sarawak will not be eas­ily de­ceived by the of­fers made by PKR Sarawak which are re­dun­dant.

They ( PKR Sarawak) may have for­got­ten that many of the prom­ises made dur­ing the last Gen­eral Elec­tion have not been ful­filled and some were never im­ple­mented even when they were in power the past two years,. Among the other pledges were de­fend­ing Na­tive Cus­tom­ary Rights ( NCR) land, pro­vid­ing clean wa­ter sup­ply and elec­tric­ity sup­ply to all ar­eas in the state, im­prove trans­porta­tion and hous­ing, build safe roads, pro­vid­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the youth.