Thursday, 6 May 2021

Kudos to national diving queen, Pandelela Pamg Rinong for her sterling performance at FINA World Championships in Japan

Kudos to our national diving queen, Pandelela Pam Rinong who had won gold medal in the 10 meter individual platform at the FINA World Cup Diving Championships held in Japan on May 5. I congratulate Pandelela for making Malaysia proud on the world stage by winning the first gold medal for our national squad this year.

Pandelela's achievement had mean a lot to Malaysia and Sarawak because the world championship which she participated was the last avenue for athletes from all over the country to secure their place in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics this year. Her (Pandelela's) achievement had done proud us all because it is considered a bonus for our national squad and it has been used to evaluate the performance of athletes who had without any competitions after almost a year.

On behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, I call on our local athletes to double their efforts in training and preparing themselves to be better prepared in spearheading our country's challenge in international competitions. Pandelela's achievements had also proven that Sarawak athletes were able to compete with those from more developed countries in terms of advances in sports science, diet and sports technology which are now among the important factors in preparing athletes of international standard.







Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Throwing support to our Parliament's decision on UNDI 18

In view of the issue on UNDI 18, I have mentioned that the Election Commission (EC) needs to address voters' registration for those aged 18 as soon as possible in order to resolve the matter.

I am however pleased with our Parliament’s decision on Undi 18 as announced by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law), YB Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan on May 1.

The government has given an assurance to implement the Undi 18 this year and YB Datuk Seri Takiyuddin has also mentioned that currently the Election Commission (EC) was still looking into several matters before finalising, and it is expected to be implemented in July this year, thus enabling Malaysians aged 18 to vote in the 15th General Election (GE15).

At the same time, I have expressed hope for the Undi 18 plan (lowering of voting age to 18) would be implemented this year but this also depends on whether it can be achieved for the Sarawak polls. If not, we intend to enforce it for GE15, which we know is in 2023.

Meanwhile, on election candidates who are aged 18, I have mentioned they are welcomed to stand if they felt that they were capable. They may run for office as candidates, but in order to vote, I assume there is a minor stipulation that they must register as voters with the EC. I see this process as a little complicated, but everyone can be a candidate because it has been accepted in Parliament and gazetted by the government.



Monday, 3 May 2021

Another publicity stunt by the opposition in calling for our DUN to convene in short notice

The recent call by Sarawak's Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman, YB Chong Chieng Jen for our State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to convene for the deliberation on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine is like seeking cheap publicity and an act of showing that he cared for the well-being of Sarawakians.

As a Member of Parliament and DUN Member, YB Chong should know better that calling for a DUN sitting is different than calling an association or a club meeting, which can be done any time. As far as a DUN sitting is concerned, all the 82 ADUNs will be delivered the relevant notice at least 28 days prior to the sitting scheduled next.

I have mentioned this to our media friends who asked for my comments on YB Chong’s recent remarks that the DUN should convene to deliberate the state’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccine and keep Sarawakians informed of the immunisation process.

Surely the DAP lawmaker should be aware that the current term of DUN Sarawak would expire on June 6 and given this fact, it would be impossible for DUN secretariat to issue the necessary notice to all the ADUNs. Thus, I believe that YB Chong was calling for a DUN sitting for the sake of seeking cheap publicity to show that he cared for all of us.

YB Chong had earlier on said a DUN meeting should take place to inform Sarawakians of how the state government was going to procure the vaccine such as from which suppliers since there are so many suppliers even though the state government has said to reject AstraZeneca.



Saturday, 1 May 2021

Celebrating Labour Day 2021 on a modest scale

Assalammualaikum and I take this opportunity to wish happy Labour Day 2021 to all my dear friends. Syukur alhamdullilah, together we can still celebrate this year's Labour Day even though in a modest scale and following the new norms. Labour Day is not just a day for us to take time off from work but it is actually an appreciation to the enormous contribution and sacrifices given by all employees towards the development of our society, state and country.

In fact, the celebration of Labor Day on May 1 every year is a day to commemorate our common struggle in discharging our daily duties as well as inject new spirit to all employees in upholding the noble efforts in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. At the same time, let us continue to take good care of our health and to follow the existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to curb the spread of COVID19 pandemic that is still plaguing the world. 

#LabourDay #HariPekerja #Sarawak #Malaysia #KitaJagaKita #StafSafe #COVID19



Thursday, 29 April 2021

Getting our folks to complete their vaccination next August before the forthcoming Sarawak's election (PRN)

Last Tuesday, I have responded to the statement made by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, YB Khairy Jamaluddin who stated that Sarawak was considering using a vaccine brand in line with our government’s goal of getting its residents to complete their vaccination next August before the forthcoming state election (PRN).

I thank our media friends from MalaysiaNow who contacted me yesterday to get my response on this matter and it is no secret that Sarawak’s PRN will be held soon where we are the only one to run a separate PRN from the general election (GE).

I also stated that the Sarawak Government intends to complete its vaccination program next August in order to facilitate the implementation of our PRN possibly within 60 days after the state assembly is scheduled to be dissolved in June.

The Sarawak government must complete its vaccination program so that it can avoid the spike of Covid-19 cases which happened in the Sabah’s elections held last year. Apart from that, only the emergency order can postpone the election or change the situation as well as add that the current emergency order that will expire on August 1.

So, if the current emergency postpones the DUN sitting, then it cannot be dissolved on June 6, when the term of office officially ends. It will automatically be dissolved after the emergency ends on August 1. Presently, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) holds 68 seats out of a total of 82 seats comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Bersatu Sarawak (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Parti Demokratik Progresif (PDP).



Kudos to PEMADAM Sarawak for their Bubur Lambuk program

I take my hats off to PEMADAM Sarawak for their initiatives in organising their "Bubur Lambuk" program which had benefited 1,000 recipients in Kuching and in Asajaya district. I also thank them for inviting me to grace the handing over ceremony which was held at the lobby of my office at Level 17, Baitul Makmur II building in Petra Jaya. The program is the first of its kind to be organised by PEMADAM Sarawak and it is aimed to build rapport with the targeted groups especially our local youths who must be alerted on the dangers of drugs and substance abuse.

I also appreciate the support from our partners namely those from Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK), Pengasih Malaysia, Kuching Resident Office, Sarawak Education Department and many more for their cooperation in making this year's program a success. Also present during the handing over ceremony were PEMADAM Sarawak's Deputy Chairman, YB Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali who is also our Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring, the director of AADK Sarawak, Encik Wan Madihi and representatives from various recipients. 

In my welcoming speech, I have mentioned on the importance of PEMADAM Sarawak in reaching out to its constituents and the target groups especially youths who are in need of proper guidance from all of us as they enter maturity. Members of our community must be aware on the dangers of drugs and substance abuse which can lead to moral decay as well as the destruction of a society when left to its devices.



 


Friday, 23 April 2021

Calling our youths to apply for "Sarawak Youth Creative Industry Fund (SYCIF)"

Recently I have called on our youths to be involved in arts and culture in which they can apply for funds from Sarawak Youth Creative Industry Fund (SYCIF) to develop their talents as well as to add value to their programmes.

The fund was set up in 2018 and was aimed to assist youths in organising arts and culture programmes, particularly music, film, drama and theatre. It is open to Sarawakians and Malaysians aged 15 to 40, who can apply as individuals, groups or associations.

I have mentioned these to our media friends after our recent meeting with Sarawak’s Youth Development Committee and the fund is not meant for them (youths) to undertake business or entrepreneurship purposes. Back in 2019, the fund received 16 applications of which only five were approved with a total sum of RM230,000.

Despite facing the Covid-19 pandemic, we still received 44 applications of which 26 were approved with total funds given were RM661,733. As for 2021, we received 54 applications with 11 approved, amounting to RM220,200. The application form is available on the Youth and Sports Ministry’s website at www.myss.sarawak.gov.my

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak had planned to undertake 56 programmes for our youths and another 41 sports programmes for the year 2021 but out of this, and until now, we only managed to organise seven. Hence, we hope to be able to organise the others later this year after more Sarawakians are getting vaccinated. 



Thursday, 22 April 2021

Catching up with members of Sarawak Motorsports Association (SMA) and their concerns on illegal racing

Big thanks to Sarawak Mo­tor­sports As­so­ci­a­tion (SMA) led by its pres­i­dent, Dato Sri Ah­mad Dato Ibrahim who led del­e­ga­tion to pay a cour­tesy call to my office at Ban­gu­nan Baitul­mak­mur II in Pe­tra Jaya on April 19. During the visit, they re­lated to me con­cerns re­gard­ing il­le­gal and dan­ger­ous rac­ing and hence, Sarawak needs a proper rac­ing cir­cuit “com­plete with safety as­pects.

Dato Sri Ah­mad Ibrahim had also de­scribed mo­tor­sports as one of the most pop­u­lar sports in the coun­try and among the ba­sic needs of the in­dus­try are fa­cil­i­ties such as rac­ing cir­cuits that are com­plete with safety as­pects. According to him, there is a very high de­mand from mo­tor­sports fans and com­mu­nity in Sarawak for us to have a com­plete rac­ing cir­cuit or track fa­cil­ity and can be a plat­form for the devel­op­ment of this sport.

Dato Sri Ah­mad, who is also Padawan Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil deputy chair­man, added that apart from rac­ing fa­cil­i­ties, knowl­edge or tech­nique of ve­hi­cle han­dling skills is also an im­por­tant as­pect for some­one who wants to be in­volved in the field of mo­tor­sports which is full of chal­lenges and high risks. He had com­ment­ed on a re­cent accident in the park­ing area of the Sarawak Sta­dium in Petra Jaya which was used as a place for mo­tor­sports fans to race. 

SMA had taken this is­sue se­ri­ously and as you know, this is not the first in­ci­dent that oc­curred in the area in which among the main rea­sons is that the area is a park­ing lot and not a rac­ing cir­cuit. In ad­di­tion to that, there is no safety as­pects are im­ple­mented and there is no su­per­vi­sion from cer­ti­fied race of­fi­cers or mar­shals in the area.



Wednesday, 21 April 2021

GPS should not be dragged into the quarrel between DAP and PAS

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is distancing itself from the spat over electoral boundaries which PAS recently had said are skewed and unfair to predominantly Malay states. I was asked by our media friends to comment on GPS' stand and I have mentioned that we should not be dragged into the quarrel between DAP and PAS. This had evolved after DAP secretary-general, YB Lim Guan Eng had accused us in the Sarawak ruling coalition of betraying Sarawakians by backing Perikatan Nasional (PN) alongside the Islamist party. 

Both DAP and PAS used to be bed partners in Pakatan Rakyat and they should know each other well. "Leave GPS and Bornean parties out of their squabble.” was my response to YB Lim’s comment that GPS, alongside non-Malay parties such as MCA and MIC, should be answerable for any move to redraw electoral borders along racial and religious lines.

This also came on the back of a statement by a PAS leader that the current electoral boundaries are skewed and unfair to predominantly Malay states, citing the number of parliamentary seats represented by Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Pahang. PAS’ Khairuddin Aman Razali had also proposed that the boundaries be redrawn so that the states are better representated in the federal legislative. YB Lim reportedly said that proposal amounted to apartheid and a denial of non-Muslim rights. I have dismissed the talk by saying the Election Commission (EC) has its own way of carving out electoral boundaries. No isolated opinion from PAS leaders will change that, and Guan Eng need not lower himself so low to debate on an issue he knows is isolated and not the stand of all Malaysians.



Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Thumbs up to Sarawak's Government decision in undertaking tar­geted En­hanced Move­ment Con­trol Or­der (EMCO) that will be im­ple­mented in tar­geted ar­eas

Thumbs up to Sarawak's Government decision in undertaking tar­geted En­hanced Move­ment Con­trol Or­der (EMCO) that will be im­ple­mented in tar­geted ar­eas across the state in lieu of the Move­ment Con­trol Or­der (MCO).

This was mentioned by our Right Honourable Chief Min­is­ter, Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Abang Haji Openg in the press conference yesterday on the decision taken af­ter fac­tor­ing all the con­cerns and risk as­sess­ment which the State Disas­ter Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee (SDMC) has de­cided to main­tain its ef­fort to im­ple­ment tar­geted EMCO op­er­a­tions as th­ese have proven to be suc­cess­ful in con­tain­ing the long­house, neigh­bour­hood and work­place Covid-19 spread.

According to him, the de­bate of im­pos­ing an MCO ver­sus CMCO (Con­di­tional Move­ment Con­trol Or­der) is heated lately. But by im­ple­ment­ing MCO for Sarawak, this will bur­den many in­dus­tries and de­stroy the liveli­hood of many. Our Chief Minister gave us the as­surance that SDMC has done its eval­u­a­tion on the ground and have ex­plained that dur­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence with MCO in Sibu, they were bogged down by a num­ber of is­sues namely in en­force­ment ef­forts.

Sarawak is cur­rently un­der the CMCO from April 13 to 26 in light of the cur­rent trend of in­crease in sev­eral ar­eas namely Sibu, Bin­tulu and Miri while at the same time our Chief Minister had also in­structed en­force­ment agen­cies to tighten in­ter-dis­trict travel con­trol in the state af­ter eval­u­at­ing the lo­cal sit­u­a­tion of in­creas­ing Im­port C cases. Presently, half of Sarawak's 40 districts are in red zone including major areas of Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu which saw a spike in positive cases the past few days. 











Monday, 19 April 2021

My comments on BN’s present leaders will not rock the political stability in Sarawak by contesting in the forthcoming PRN12

There were talks by former academician, Dr Mashor Hossen, on possibility of Barisan Nasional (BN) making a comeback in our forthcoming 12th Sarawak Elections (PRN12)no one could take BN’s strength lightly. 

Dr Mashor who was previously associated with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang, believed that our young people in Sarawak may join BN and this would not be a surprise.

My comments on this matter are straight forward and I have mentioned to our media friends that the current BN leaders who have had a long history with us understood Sarawak's politics well enough as not to rock the political stability in our state.

BN has a long history in Sarawak, and BN’s present leaders understand Sarawak’s politics well and are close to present Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders...I’m sure BN’s present leaders will not rock the political stability in Sarawak by contesting in the forthcoming PRN (state election).

Just as we don’t welcome Perikatan Nasional (PN) to contest in Sarawak, we also do not welcome BN contesting in Sarawak. Others may agree on this and if BN managed to find ways to contest in Sarawak, it would be unlikely they could secure any seats here with their current Umno, MCA and MIC composition.



Saturday, 17 April 2021

We have recorded the highest drop in visitor arrivals by 90 per cent for the month of January 2021

We have recorded the highest drop in visitor arrivals by 90 per cent for the month of January 2021, with less than 10,000 arrivals as compared to 400,000 arrivals in the same period of last year. The figure is saddening and the overall number of visitor's arrivals to Sarawak had dropped by 75 per cent in 2020 due to Covid19.

The pandemic has dashed our target of having 5 million visitor's arrivals to Sarawak in 2020 which we initially thought we would be able to hit following extensive preparations of programmes including the Visit Sarawak Campaign 2020 (VSC2020).

No doubt that tourism is one of the hardest hit industries by Covid19, not only affecting Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsula Malaysia but the whole world.

Despite the impacts of tourism on Sarawak’s economy, our economy is still quite strong even though the tourism industry which involved many other sectors suffered greatly, as the State does not entirely depend on tourism revenue but diverse revenue resources including oil and gas.

Our economy is quite a mix and is better and more balanced due to the diversity as tourism does not take up a big chunk. Tourism GDP (Gross Domestic Product) only accounts for less than 20 per cent of the State’s economy as we have a diversity of resources including oil and gas. So as long as we can maintain along that line (20 per cent contribution to GDP), I will be quite happy.

While we are still aiming at the 5 million visitor arrivals’ target, I have however acknowledged that it was not possible to achieve in the next one or two years, not until Covid-19 has been subdued, confidence in travel has been restored and air corridors are open up again.

We know that anything that hits rock bottom will soon rise up again like the stock market. I believe we are almost at the lowest point and the (travel) confidence will be rebuilt slowly but surely. But how long it will take to bring up the confidence for travel to start again may take one or two or more years.

Despite all of that, I have highlighted that Sarawak is able to sustain the tourism industry after one year by restrategising its plans to put focus on local travel which led to the creation of Sia Sitok Sarawak (SSS), an intra-state tourism campaign that has been extended for the second edition this year.

We know that the fear of travelling is inside everyone around the world. We have made a lot of adjustments and that’s why we came up with Sia Sitok Sarawak because we know for now, we cannot expect visitors from outside Sarawak, so we have to get visitors from within like Miri to visit Kuching and vice versa.

Syukur alhamdullilah, the SSS campaign has taken off well as many Sarawakians loved it, giving them the opportunity to explore and find adventures and treasures in Sarawak’s own backyard. We cannot be promoting (to markets) too far away. We have to start promoting to our regional neighbours like Singapore and Brunei. We are also looking into the travel bubble with these two countries once the situation permits,



Friday, 16 April 2021

My response on whether Sarawak's Independence is an option out of what many term to be unjust treatment by Federal government

Recently I have responded to a question by our media friends from Dayak Daily on whether Sarawak's Independence is an option out of what many term to be unjust treatment by the Federal government. I have mentioned that Sarawak could avoid reaching such a stage but it would be best to reach a state where the interests of all parties are accounted for.

If Sarawak’s rights continue to be divested, there is no stopping the younger generation of Sarawakians from wanting independence and for us to be separated from the Federation of Malaysia. The new generation of Sarawakians and Sabahans have their own way of seeing things, for they are well educated and knowledgeable.

Thus, if the conditions of unfairness or shortchanging persists in Sarawak and Sabah, nothing can stop these young ones from demanding for equality. If this is not being addressed properly, the new generation of Sarawakians and Sabahans might start questioning, ‘Why should we be in this grand coalition?’.

We are trying to avoid it. The older generation like me, like many others who were born even before Malaysia, they would not want this to happen. But we cannot stop those that are born in the 90s or in the years 2000, because a lot of them are professionals and are well read,” he told DayakDaily reporters today.

That is why if there is no fairness, if there is this feeling whereby we felt that we have been shortchanged, if we feel we have been bullied, we can’t stop the new generation from demanding for equality. So, before we reach that state, therefore it is better for us to come to our senses to accommodate and make everyone feel happy. 



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.




Sunday, 11 April 2021

Our Chief Minister's comments on "Wilayah Sarawak" which depends on outcome of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiation

Singing the same chorus with our Right Honourable Chief Minister on the use of the term “Wilayah Sarawak” or region, it  will depend on the outcome of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiation between our government and the Federal government.

According to our Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, the use of the term “Wilayah Sarawak” was just a suggestion by our Right Honourable Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his visit to Kuching 1 to 2 April this year. He (PM) noted the formation of Malaysia is referred to the Federation of Malaya Agreement under Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution while the formation of Malaysia under MA63 consisted of three regions namely Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak and Singapore.

With Singapore exiting Malaysia, Abang Johari said Sarawak government had requested the Federal government to amend the law in accordance to MA63. After the recognition of the formation of Malaysia under MA63, our Chief Minister had also explained that only Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution can be amended to say the formation of Malaysia consisted of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

As mentioned by Abang Johari, the Prime Minister had recognised that Sarawak is different to other states as stipulated under MA63 and it has a large geographical area. “This is what we have fought for,” said our Chief Minister in his speech during the recent launching of earth breaking ceremony of the Balai Ringin Mini Stadium project.

Meanwhile, during a press conference also held in Balai Ringin that day, our Chief Minister had said the actual term of Sarawak region will be determined by legal experts after the negotiation of MA63 is concluded. Abang Johari who is also our Minister of Finance and Economic Planning added the Sarawak government is still in discussion on the rights of Sarawak under MA63 with the Federal government.






Friday, 9 April 2021

Adding on the status of Sarawak as a 'Wilayah" and getting the historical facts to support this

Giving the thumbs up to our media friends who had published my views on Sarawak getting the "wilayah" or region status. I have mentioned that the his­tor­i­cal facts had clearly shown that Sarawak and Sabah can­not be cat­e­gorised like other Penin­su­lar Malaysian states be­cause the for­ma­tion of the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya was very dif­fer­ent from Malaysia’s for­ma­tion.

I fully agreed with Prime Min­is­ter Tan Sri Muhyid­din Yassin declar­ing Sarawak as a "wi­layah" or re­gion because the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya Agree­ment was signed in 1957 be­fore Sarawak and Sabah formed Malaysia in 1963 with Malaya un­der the Malaysia Agree­ment.

Be­cause of that we can­not be part of the smaller states and when the Malaysia Agree­ment was signed, there was one sig­na­tory each rep­re­sent­ing Malaya, Sarawak, and Sabah. Each rep­re­sented each re­gion or ter­ri­tory, not ev­ery state, where there is only one rep­re­sen­ta­tive who rep­re­sent­ed all the states in Malaya.

Of course among the things that needed to be done is to amend cer­tain ar­ti­cles in the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion but the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has to make sure amend­ments are made to some of the ar­ti­cles in the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion so that these things can be gazetted. You have to amend many ar­ti­cles, es­pe­cially Ar­ti­cle 160, so that it will not cause con­fu­sion on our sta­tus and many peo­ple might be con­fused with the word "wi­layah" be­cause of the ter­mi­nol­ogy. It is not the same as "Wi­layah Perseku­tuan" or fed­eral ter­ri­tory.








Thursday, 8 April 2021

Sarawak cannot be on the same level as other states in Peninsular Malaysia when Malaysia is a confederation consisting of three regions or territories

Today I have mentioned to our media friends that Sarawak cannot be on the same level as other states in Peninsular Malaysia when Malaysia is a confederation consisting of three regions or territories comprising Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah. 


These were my views when our media friends seek my comments on the status of Sarawak, either as a region or a territory. I have mentioned that Sarawak is certainly not a state and we cannot be the same as other smaller states in Peninsula Malaysia. We (Sarawak) cannot be part of a smaller state. How can you put Perlis and Sarawak on the same level? 

I have also told them that when the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was signed in 1963, there was one representative from Semenanjung (Peninsular Malaysia), one from Sarawak, one from Sabah, and at the time Singapore as well but Singapore later quit the federation. 

So, there was only one representative from the whole Peninsular Malaysia and not from each state. With that, I have expressed his agreement with our Right Honourable Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement of Sarawak being a region (‘wilayah’) during his two-day working visit here on April 1 to 2. 

I added that the Federal Constitution will then have to be amended based on MA63, and not Federation of Malaya 1957 in order to incorporate Sarawak and Sabah as regions and not mere states. Such proposed amendment is to have a clear interpretation of Sarawak’s status in this confederation while it brings appropriateness to certain terms Sarawak beholds. 

My views on the right English word to describe “wilayah” is that it could either be “region” or ‘territory’ depending on how people will define them, but the emphasis is that “wilayah” is not the same as federal territories  or Wilayah Persekutuan. It can be “region” or “territory”, but then I personally would prefer “region. We are of three regions, or three territories, depending on how you define it but the facts remain that we cannot be on par or be seen as the same as the other states in Peninsula Malaysia.



Calling on our folks in Kampung Serpan Laut, Asajaya to abide to Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO)

I am calling on our kampung folks in Kampung #Serpan Laut #Asajaya to comply with the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) will be implemented from 8 to 21 April as stated by Sarawak's State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) in their statement released recently. Apart from Kampung Serpan Laut, the EMCO is also being enforced at our Sri Aman's prison and staff's quarters there. The enforcement was necessary after SDMC had evaluated the risks with various agencies on the mentioned localities that had reported a spike in Covid-19 cases. It is our hope for our kampung folks to continue adhere the standard operating procedures (SOP) that had been enforced by SDMC, Ministry of Health (KKM) and the enforcement authorities. We are in this together and Insyallah things will return to normal if everybody renders their fullest cooperation in ensuring the EMCO will curb the spread of Covid-19. Our deepest appreciation to KKM and all frontliners who had worked very hard in conducting the swab tests on our kampung folks who are also giving their fullest cooperation to ensure the success of the whole exercise.






Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (SRBN) project was launched at Long Terawan in Ulu Baram this morning

The RM200 million Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (SRBN) project by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) was launched by our Chief Minister at Long Terawan this morning and it soon will enable the rural folks especially students in these areas to obtain internet access with speeds of up to 30 megabit per second (mbps). 

Currently, 100 areas have been installed with broadband devices and our target is to get all 150 areas to receive the facility by the end of the year. According to our Chief Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg, the project will include the installations of broadband facilities using satellites to 150 interior areas which had been identified all over Sarawak. 

Long Terawan itself is a settlement on the bank of Sungai Batang Baram in Baram district with its villagers depending on long boat to reach areas outside. There will be a road project that will link this Orang Ulu community village and once completed, tourists especially those from Western countries can siin stop over at the area which has beautiful natural environment while going to the Mulu National Park. With good internet accessibility,  the Orang Ulu community there who are still practising the traditional way of life in the long house can also reach out to the outside world better and to entice holiday makers to drop by for visits.






Welcoming news on road to be built connecting Ulu Terawan in Ulu Baram to Miri via Marudi

Our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg brought cheers to the folks at Long Terawan in Ulu Baram when he announced that roads will be built to connect their settlement with cities such as Miri via Marudi in northern part of Sarawak. According to him, the project is expected to take about four years to complete and the road has the potential of transform the landscape and socio-economy of the people in the interior in terms of agriculture and tourism.

Our Chief Miister had said the Highland Development Agency (HDA) has been given the task to provide input to him on how to develop the area further which is basically a settlement on the bank of Sungai Batang Baram in Baram district with its villagers depending on long boat to reach areas outside.

Tourists especially those from the Western countries would stop at the area which has beautiful natural surroundings as well as the local Orang Ulu community who are still practising the traditional way of life in the long house apart from making a stop before going to the world famed Mulu National Park. This is such a good news to the local folks in Ulu Terawan and also those in the Sarawak tourism industry because soon we will have additional places of interest which are easily accessible by roads. The proposed project was disclosed by the Chief Minister during his visit to Long Terawan for the official launching of Sarawak Rural Broadband Network or SRBN by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) this morning. 


 


Saturday, 3 April 2021

Talking about Samarahn which had always been the stronghold of Sarawak and Federal Governments

Recently I had mentioned to our Right Honourable Prime Minister that Samarahan, which has 2 parliamentary constituencies and 6 state constituencies, had always long been the stronghold of our State and Federal governments.

I had mentioned this in my welcoming speech during our engagement with YAB Datuk Patinggi Muhyiddin Yassin at IPG Kampus Tun Abdul Razak in Kota Samarahan yesterday and this was attributed to the close relationship, support and trust given by the diverse local communities to both governments.

In fact, our local communities here are very supportive of the governments as can be seen in each election held, Samarahan is the stronghold of the State and Federal governments. There is an interesting development in Samarahan as the relationship between the communities and governments is close which can be seen throughout the years including in our event which was attended by a diverse group of community leaders. 

The two parliamentary constituencies that are located in Samarahan namely Kota Samarahan which is being represented by Member of Parliament (MP) YB Hajah Rubiah Haji Wang and Batang Sadong which is represented by YB Datuk Seri Hajah Nancy Shukri who is also our Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

The 6 state constituencies in Samarahan are Asajaya, Muara Tuang represented by YB Datuk Idris Buang, Stakan by YB Datuk Amar Mohd Ali Mahmud, Sadong Jaya by YB Ir Aidel Lariwoo, Gedong by YB Datuk Naroden Majais and Simunjan by YB Encik Awla Dris. For Sebuyau constituency it is represented by YB Datuk Julaihi Narawi which is under Batang Lupar parliamentary constituency with the voters are also staunch supporters of our governments.

In giving strength to our PM to continue leading the country, I have pointed out that Tok Abah hasdproven to be an amazing and respectable leader with strong resilience, having overcome the many changes and unprecedented challenges thrown at the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the political crisis.

He is a respectable leader because not all leaders can go through such unprecedented challenges. Only one month taking over the premiership, a global pandemic hit. After a year on, the situation has yet to be contained entirely so it is not easy to lead the country in such circumstances and more over the federal politics are also not so stable.

I have also mentioned that the State government and political parties in Sarawak will support a leader who can bring stability, unite the diverse people in such difficult circumstances, and is sincere in leadership and we can see that in our Prime Minister. It is not an easy task, we (Sarawakians) have known and seen it in Sarawak as we have gone through the upheaval in the 70s as with the many ethnics groups and religious groups, everyone wants to be seen to be better than the rest. So let’s pray that despite the challenges we all faced, the Prime Minister will be given the strength and health to continue leading the nation and the people.






Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Amending a provision under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution to align it with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

It was mentioned by our Chief Minister today that the federal government has agreed to consider amending a provision under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution to align it with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). 

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had informed our media friends this morning that the provision must be amended to ensure that the Federal Constitution is based on MA63 and that the term ‘”the Federation” is no longer interpreted as ‘the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 ‘.

I was together with our Chief Minister when he mentioned this matter during the press conference which was held this morning where the amended provision would lead to a better relationship between the federal government and the Sarawak government in line with the MA63, after it was shot down by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

As such, our Chief Minister had thanked Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for agreeing to have further discussions with the state government on the amendment, which was shot down by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“We request that ‘the Federation’ means the federation established under Malaysia Agreement 1963. Then they can realign the relationship between the state government and federal government under this constitution", the Chief Minister said.

“It doesn’t make sense when your constitution is based on (Federation of Malaya Agreement) 1957. Because if you’ve got any problem, the judge will interpret based on this,” he added while clarifying media reports on his previous remarks during a working visit to Lubok Antu held on March 30. He had reportedly said that the state government would make a decision on the state’s relations with the Perikatan Nasional-led (PN) federal government soon.

The chief minister said he did not touch on reviewing Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) relationship with PN, adding that the news reports could have linked his speech to the current political ongoings in the Peninsular. He also stressed that GPS is a separate entity and not a member of PN but a partner to the PN to form the federal government.

“What we are talking about is ‘Sarawak First’, (about being) autonomous when you talk about MA63. They have agreed,” he said. During the press conference, I have also mentioned the Sarawak government had always been firm on the amendment to Article 160. I have also revealed that during the time of Pakatan Harapan as federal government, the Sarawak government wanted the amendment to the interpretation of the ordinance to be incorporated but it was refused.

The PH government had in April 2019 tabled a proposed amendment to the Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which sought to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Peninsular Malaysia. We have always been adamant that the Federal Constitution, when they refer to ‘Federation’, it refers to Federation of Malaya only which is in 1957. They did not include Sabah and Sarawak that is what we wanted to incorporate which they refused to change.