Saturday, 31 October 2020

My comments and views on the National Budget 2021

I have to thank our media friends who have asked me about the upcoming National Budget 2021 which will be tabled on 6 November which should focus on relieving the people’s burden amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

To me, there is no need for us to have ‘big big’ infrastructures at the moment as the people are under pressure from the pandemic. I have also mentioned that the government needs to put effort in is to reduce the people’s burden and continue to progress and improve the economy of the country

I have also expressed high hope for the budget to also include the tourism industry as currently, there is a global fear of travelling. At the moment, people are simply not confident to travel overseas, and tourists were not confident to fly into the country, and if promotions are to be done overseas, it would not revive the industry.

However, I believe with the introduction of incentives, the domestic tourism, including the hotels, homestays, national parks, food industry and related transportation, can slowly be revived.

He said that if the Covid-19 pandemic does not worsen further, we may have to project that the tourism industry would improve by the second half of 2021 when people have built the confidence to travel once more.

Of course the desired situation will not accelerate in the fast matter but this can be helped with support from our state and federal government incentives and planning when we table the budget during the state legislative assembly (DUN) sitting on 9 to 13 November. The National Budget 2021 will be announced first, and during the second half of the DUN sitting we will table the state budget, which is the Supply Bill.

On another matter, I did mention that our youths are also affected by the pandemic whereby many had lost their jobs. In fact, the lost of jobs had affected many people and not just youths, and they have to be strong and improve self confidence and look into other opportunities. As times have changed with more things shifting online, like food delivery and shopping they can get opportunities there.

Our youths must also become more IT savvy so that they can look into how to use those apparatus for new opportunities to earn a living. I also believe that our youths will need to be included in the coming budget as they are very important in the nation’s development.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Belajawan 2021 diharap beri fokus untuk ringankan beban rakyat

Dalam ucapan perasmian di siri Jelajah Belia Sarawak 2020 peringkat kawasan dewan undangan negeri (DUN) Tupong di Kuching pada 30 Oktober lalu, saya telah berkata bahawa Kerajaan Sarawak pastinya akan menyalurkan lebih banyak dana untuk menambah serta meningkatkan kelajuan capaian internet dan digital di negeri ini.

Sesungguhnya kita amat bertuah kerana mempunyai seorang Ketua Menteri iaitu Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg yang begitu prihatin dan bersemangat dalam mentranformasikan ekonomi Sarawak daripada ekonomi konvensional kepada ekonomi berasaskan digital. 

Kita juga merupakan negeri pertama di Malaysia yang mempunyai pihak berkuasa multimedia iaitu Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) yang memberikan fokus kepada usaha-usaha kita untuk membolehkan penembusan dan kelajuan capaian internet, khususnya di kawasan luar bandar dapat ditingkatkan.

Saya pasti akan lebih banyak dana akan disalurkan dalam usaha untuk menjadikan seluruh kawasan di negeri ini mempunyai kelajuan internet sekaligus memenuhi aspirasi beliau yang mahu menjadikan rakyat Sarawak termasuk golongan belia yang mempunyai kemahiran digital yang tinggi.  Isu mengenai kelajuan capaian internet dan digital menjadi perkara yang sering disuarakan oleh belia di Sarawak, khususnya yang tinggal di kawasan pinggir bandar dan luar bandar.

Perkara ini seringkali diutarakan oleh golongan terbabit setiap kali kementerian itu melakukan atau melaksanakan siri jelajah belia di seluruh Sarawak.

Walaupun masalah kelajuan capaian internet tidak menjadi masalah dikawasan bandar namun keadaan berbeza apabila berada di kawasan luar bandar.

Kesukaran itu menjadikan perkara tersebut menjadi antara fokus yang sering diutarakan oleh belia agar kerajaan mempecepatkan proses menaik taraf kelajuan komunikasi digital di kawasan terlibat.

Saya turut menegaskan bahawa kepimpinan utama negeri kita amat faham akan situasi tersebut dan usaha ke arah penambahbaikan dalam meningkatkan penembusan serta kelajuan capaian internet terutama di kawasan luar bandar sentiasa dan sedang dilaksanakan.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Sarawak election will happen when the time comes as there is no state of emergency declared

We fully support the statement made by the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg who said our state election will happen when the time comes as there is no state of emergency declared.

As what he has mentioned, we also hope for the Election Commission (EC) or National Security Council (MKN), to come up with the appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that would allow an election to be conducted in a controlled environment so that it would not be dangerous. In fact, the EC will look at what has been implemented in Singapore and in New Zealandin order to get ideas on how to conduct election during this time of Covid-19.

Abang Johari had also pointed out that Sarawak did not have any option, as the state government’s term was coming to an end soon.With no emergency, the government institutions are still functioning as usual and for us in Sarawak because our mandate will end soon. Together with our Chief Minister, we are thankful to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for giving very good advice to politicians to not to politick too much and to people to stay united in this fight against Covid-19.

“For us in Sarawak, we will abide by the advice.We will continue to do our duty to the people even as we face a situation where our mandate is finishing soon," the Chief Minister was quoted saying by our local media fraternity.

Sarawak poised to set world record of having longest artificial reef balls project.

Recently the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg had called on our local fishermen’s association members to work closely with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and other agencies in preventing the encroachment of foreign fishermen in state's waters.

According to him, our local fishermen must immediately report any illegal activities to the authorities and that is why Sarawak Government is planting artificial reef balls which also serves as a passive form of enforcement. This is because the reefs were found to have successfully torn the trawler nets that were stuck and this caused the illegal trawlers to avoid the areas.

I had the opportunity to join the Chief Minister in the symbolic ceremony for the deployment of artificial reef balls in Sampadi-Tanjung Datu waters in Sematan which was organised by SFC. Sarawak had started planting artificial reef balls in Talang Satang area since 1998 after many turtles were found dead in the area due to illegal trawling activities mostly by foreign vessels.

As a result of the artificial reef balls deployment, the number of dead turtles recorded in the area not only decreased by 90 per cent (less than 10 per year) but the income of fishermen also increased up to three times.The socio-economic status of traditional fishermen in this area is also increasing while the turtle conservation programme have begun showing results whereby the number which have returned to their original habitat not only on the island but also the beaches in the area.

To date, SFC has successfully planted 600 artificial reef balls in Belawai-Paloh waters in 2018, 600 units in Lawas waters and 1,200 units in Igan to Mukah waters in 2019. In 2020, a total of 1,200 reef balls had been planted in the waters of Muara Tebas-Sebuyau, 660 units in the northern waters of Pulau Bruit-Igan and now 1,100 units in the waters of Sampadi-Tanjung Datu. The local community had also come forward to volunteer as ‘Turtle Rangers’ as part of the turtle conservation programme. When all these reef balls are fully implemented, Sarawak waters will set a record as the area that has the longest artificial reef ball project in the world.

Kudos to STB-MTACS Grab for launching drivers tourism ambassador programme

Kudos to Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and its efforts to groom some 1,000 local Grab drivers to become tourism ambassadors which is also the first of its kind being implemented in our country.

According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of STB, Puan Sharzede Salleh Askor the programme is exclusively for e-hailing drivers with the aim to equip them with extra knowledge about tourism and also Sarawak’s unique attractions to present and future visitors.

This initiative is also a joint effort by STB and Grab Academy, as part of continuous efforts by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Sarawak and also the board to boost the state’s tourism industry. Grab Malaysia would collaborate by reaching out to between 4,000 and 5,000 e-hailing drivers from its database, who are based in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri; and engaging them in e-learning training.

The ambassador concept is also hoped to enrich their knowledge about Sarawak as a tourism destination and, in turn, grooming them to become Sarawak ambassadors to their clients. STB would also collaborate with Grab Malaysia in providing the tourism product modules via the Grab Academy platform. The programme is available in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin in which the modules would cover information about Sarawak, its culture and heritage as well as tourist destinations. The provision of this online learning, the Grab drivers involved will have access to Grab Malaysia’s e-learning platform, the ‘Axonify’, under Grab Academy. The modules for e-learning will be facilitated by Akademi Hospitaliti dan Pelancongan Saujana Sdn Bhd (SATT College) to cover the southern, central and the northern regions of Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Mr Hii Chang HKee had also lauded the programme for being ‘extremely timely and apt’ due to its unique approach’. The ministry also welcomes such programme because e-hailing drivers are usually the the first contacts for tourists who arrive here and also during their time exploring various tourist attractions and destinations.

I therefore praise the Ministry and STB for their continuous efforts to revive our local tourism industry which can leverage on the role of e-hailing drivers in highlighting major routes, attractions and destinations. Hopefully, all our local Grab drivers will seize this opportunity to equip themselves with the knowledge that would help promote and attract visitors to explore the various tourism attraction in Sarawak.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Our youths should improve themselves with right knowledge and skills

I have recently called on our youths must improve themselves with the right knowledge and skills so that they can contribute to the brighter future for Sarawak as well as country. I have also informed them on their vital role in the development of a county and as future leaders.

They must be critical, and it is important for them to be aware of the responsibility in taking over as the future leaders and we need youths with leadership quality and the right mental capability. That is why we want youths to be educated, well mannered, aware of their surroundings and also God-fearing, because they are the future of the state and country.

I have made these remarks during the Jelajah Belia Sarawak 2020 programme for Demak Laut which was held at Penview Convention Centre in Demak Laut on 24 October. I am also proud of our local youths for having a patriotic spirit towards the state besides wanting to improve themselves to attain the next level.

Throughout the state, our youths have been nurtured with the right attitude and exposure that can make all of us proud and that is why I expressed hope that youths in Demak Laut will always have the spirit of competitiveness, be highly capable and at the same time, keep away from trouble.

It is understandable that during their youth, there is a sense of rebellion in them, but if they are following the wrong path or are easily influenced by social problems such as drugs and many others, it can lead them astray. I have pointed out that about 40 per cent of the state population comprises youths, and they are the ones who are expected to take over and provide continuity from the present leadership.

That is also why the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYSS) had organise programmes such as Jelajah Belia 2020 throughout the state, and that is why we need to get closer to the youths so as to mould and educate them in accordance with what has been required by the state and the country as a whole.