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.

Sarawak to unveil its post-COVID19 exit strategy soon

Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had mentioned today that Sarawak will unveil its post-Covid-19 exit strategy within the next month or two. According to him, the strategy is still in the drafting stage and Sarawak is planning to go towards year 2030 with sustainability and digital economy being its core.

He said this to our media friends during the press conference held at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus in Kuching. Our Chief Minister mentioned that it will be unveiled when it is ready within the next one to two months. He added that of Sarawak want to be a developed state under this current environment, especially after the pandemic, it has to be based on certain platform which based on technology.

“We have to upgrade the basic infrastructure including digital infrastructure. We are talking about speed, towers and all that in order to provide such infrastructure to the rural areas. The rural areas are equally important as we transform the whole lot,” he said to our media friends after officiating Swinburne Sarawak campus’ 20th anniversary celebration held at the university’s campus held this morning.

Our Chief Minister also pointed out that sustainability of the state’s economic growth meant that Sarawak must go green including adopting green technology. There are various approaches that being worked out, as we aim for sustainable growth for Sarawak’s state economy. He mentioned Singapore is also doing same thing, going for 2030. “That is why we go for hydrogen economy, which needs a lot of research to be done,” he enthused.

Earlier in his speech at the event, our Chief Minister said the present Covid-19 pandemic has forced Sarawak to realign its strategies to one that is grounded upon digitalisation and sustainability. He commended Swinburne Sarawak and said the university can continue to play its rightful role to produce talents to help the state achieve the aims of its post Covid-19 exit strategies which we will unveil soon.

With a host of development projects Sarawak has embarked on since he took over as Chief Minister, including the digitalisation of our economy, Industry 4.0, and hydrogen fuel cell technology, Abang Johari express hope for Swinburne Sarawak to continue play an important role in achieving our ambition to turn the state into a developed economy.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Expressing my support for implementation of lowering voting age to 18

I have expressed my support for the implementation of lowering the country’s voting age to 18 despite the recent deferment announced by the Election Commission (EC). I could understand that the EC might have some difficulties in the implementation since in Malaysia, eligible citizens need to register themselves as voters.

These are the views which I had mentioned to our media friends who had seek my response on the recent #Undi18 issue that resulted in mixed reactions from members of the public especially among youths aged 18 and above. I have mentioned that in order to cast our votes, the process in Malaysia involves registration with the EC. I think EC may have some difficulties in this aspect, hence, it announced to defer the implementation. Even though I support Undi18, I understand that there are some difficulties that need to be addressed by the EC.

Being the president of Sarawak United National Youth Organisation (SABERKAS), I recalled that the Bill had seek to lower the voting age to 18 was passed in Parliament in 2018. During that time, the Parliament also agreed that individuals aged 21 and above could contest in any elections in the country. The Bill then also received unanimous support from all MPs, be they from Pakatan Harapan (PH) or the opposition at the time, which is Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Though it has been passed in Parliament, it needs to be gazetted and endorsed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong. I was made to understand that it has been gazetted. I believed that if efforts were put in place, Malaysia should not see any major problem in implementing the policy of lowering the voting age to 18. It would not be much of a problem for those aged 21 and above to contest in elections because this does not require registration. A candidate just needs to bring along a nomination form, MyKad and deposit money to be eligible as a candidate.

However, if an eligible individual did not register with the EC, the individual would not be able to vote in any election. If your name is not on the electoral roll, you can’t cast your vote even though you have reached the age of 18. I felt that voter’s registration in Malaysia should be done automatically but was quick to admit that automatic voter’s registration is easier said than done. Because it (automatic voter’s registration) involves another agency, you need to link yourself up with the National Registration Department.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Better Internet accessibility with the recent launching of "Wifi Salu­ran" (WS) fa­cil­ity at Kam­pung Sam­bir in Asa­jaya

We are looking forward for our kampung folks to have better Internet accessibility with the recent launching of the "Wifi Salu­ran" (WS) fa­cil­ity at Kam­pung Sam­bir in Asa­jaya on March 26 which will boost the broad­band ser­vice net­work for the vil­lagers once in full op­er­a­tion. We also thank Sarawak Mul­ti­me­dia Author­ity (SMA) for having ini­ti­ated the fa­cil­ity which will bring a host of benefits for our folks especially in rural areas.

I praised SMA for having pre­pared a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions de­vel­op­ment plan for the Sam­bir area to en­able res­i­dents to en­joy qual­ity com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices. Pre­vi­ously, I have dis­cussed with Telekom Malaysia and SMA to ex­pand the fi­bre op­tic net­work in Sa­ma­ra­han Di­vi­sion, es­pe­cially in our coastal ar­eas, in­clud­ing Asa­jaya District so that everyone can benefit from such development.

This ini­tia­tive is also aimed to solve the broad­band ser­vice net­work is­sue, es­pe­cially in the Sam­bir area and although many tow­ers had been built, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vice in the area is need of improvement be­cause there were no transmitting dishes.

To over­come such prob­lem, SMA had pro­vided the "Wifi Saluran" fa­cil­i­ties with the in­stal­la­tions in­volving 200 ar­eas in­clud­ing Kam­pung Sam­bir. The project also in­cluded the in­stal­la­tion of 200 Very-Small-Aper­ture Ter­mi­nals (VSAT) on the first 300 telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion tower projects in the state.

Thus, we are grate­ful to the state govern­ment for se ing the tar­get of full In­ter­net cov­er­age through­out Sarawak by 2025. So far, the govern­ment has built more than 170 telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion tow­ers out of the 300 tar­geted un­der the project. The state govern­ment has also ap­plied to the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia (MCMC) for a li­cence to en­able the state govern­ment to de­velop broad­band In­ter­net in cer­tain ar­eas.

We therefore thanked SMA for notic­ing the prob­lem faced by the lo­cal peo­ple, and the ex­pla­na­tion on the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work in Sam­bir as well as the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment plan in Sa­ma­ra­han Di­vi­sion. Big thanks to our Member of Parliament for Kota Sa­ma­ra­han, Puan Hajah Ru­biah Haji Wang and SMA's gen­eral man­ager, Dr Zaidi Razak for inviting me to grace the launching ceremony which was held at Kampung Sambir Community Hall.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Looking forward to watching "Belaban Hidup: Zombie Infection" movie soon

We take our hats off to the production team of our very own indie film, "Belaban Hidup: Zombie Infection" which recently won the Horror and Science Fiction category for the fiction film genre at the 2021 World Film Carnival (WFC) held in Singapore and their entry was announced as winner on the WFC Singapore website on March 18.

Produced by Hornbill Films Sdn Bhd and Harry Aziz Entertainment Sdn Bhd,  it tells the story of a group of orphans locked up in a facility and to be used as experimental material by a mad scientist. Their achievement had made us proud and what's more special is that they had  received funding from the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (FINAS).

Kudos to the producer and director, Ray Lee who collaborated with local screenwriter Misha Minut who is from Limbang, Sarawak. Both are young talented locals and they have succeeded in working together in creating an interesting story that highlights the story of Sarawak Dayak warriors. Viewers will discover that the film is also characterized by a combination of Malay and Iban language than half the battle.

The uniqueness of this film also include the elements of Dayak culture and customs as well as the use the Iban language in the dialogues which the young generation including those from other races and ethnicities will be interested to learn. It is heartening to see that there are a lot of well known artistes involved in the line up such as Pekin Ibrahim, Altimet, Pablo Amirul, Anna Melissa, Cassidy Panggau and Indonesian singer, Tegar as well as Slovakian -born actress, Katrina Gray.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Ray, Misha and their team for being  nominated at the International Symbolic Art Film Festival which will be held on March 27 in Russia and the nominations are in two categories, namely Best Film and Best Horror Film. Let us look forward to the screening of the film which is distributed by Metrowealth Pictures Sdn Bhd, is expected to be screened in local cinemas by the end of this year.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Applauding the achievements of "Sarawak Eye" in winning Gold Award in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards

Kudos to the team of Sarawak Eye - a local magazine outfit which had recently won the Gold Award in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards, an international creative award hosted by International Awards Association in the United States.

The team which was led by Carmen Toh won with their entry called “Xiananyang” - a series published by the magazine about the history of Sarawakian Chinese people and their entry was adjudged as the best among 4,618 submissions from 57 countries in the competition.

I had praised the team members from the magazine for their achievement and it showed that there are many talented young people in Sarawak who excel in the field of arts, content creation and creative industry. We are also proud to see young Sarawakians going international and stamping their marks on global platforms.

They had represented Malaysia and competed against their peers from other countries the Sarawak Eye team had won the top award in the content marketing category and the feat was surely an honour for all of us, Sarawakians.

Earlier, the “Xiananyang" entry had also won the Chief Minister Award at the Kenyalang Journalism Award 2020 and I hope such achievements will continue to motivate our young people pursue their passion in cultural preservation. Their works can be seen by their peers  worldwide and have the potential to be recognised at international scene.

Building confidence among local tourism players is important in our road to recovery aftermath Covid19 pandemic

Despite the Covid19 pandemic, our State Government the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MTAC) had to start the journey to recovery by building confidence among tourism industry players, starting with local tourism, inter-state, regional and gradually on the global sacle once the situation had returned to normal.

My ministry had been implementing short-term measures for recovery of the tourism, arts and culture industry with the support and active engagement with various tourism industry players and stakeholders.

These measures include building visitors' confidence in travel to Sarawak through strict SOPs that are endorsed by our State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and offering discounted packages as travel incentive through various campaigns such the "Sia Sitok Kempen" in order to promote intra-state travel and "Visitor Incentive Packages" (VIP) to promote inter-state travel.

The availability of the "Online Ecosystem Fund" can also help our local hotels by designating them as quarantine centres, incentives to encourage home-grown business events, continuous capacity-building, the virtual market place or travel mart and research to prepare for the return of tourists were also initiated.

I have mentioned these during the press conference held after the recent Sarawak Tourism Steering Committee meeting which was attended by representatives and stakeholders of our local tourism and hospitality industry.

I applauded our Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) who worked closed with my ministry and industry players towards the success of the  "Sia Sitok Sarawak Tour Package 1.0"  which generated good response. In fact, we have extended the travelling period to March 31, 2021 and as of today, it has generated more than RM1,569,026 in sales for 941 tour packages and 5,668 pax.

The Sia Sitok 2.0 is offering a total of 60 packages for the period of March 31 to November 2021 and awider range of domestic tour packages will be created to target locals to travel in our state while benefiting the tourism industry as a whole.

The year 2020 was horrible for our state’s tourism industry where the visitors' arrivals dropped 74 per cent from 4,662,419 in 2019 to 1,199,872 in 2020 due to Covid19 pandemic. Compared to 2019, the tourism receipts in 2020 declined 75 per cent to just RM2.88 billion, with an estimated loss of RM8.69 billion.

The trend is the same in 2021 where the number of visitor arrivals in Sarawak for the first two months of this year was even lower than that recorded during the same months last year, with the number of domestic visitor arrivals only at 7,369 in February, compared to 199,893 in the same month last year,  while there were only 1,600 foreign visitors in February 2021 compared to 111,275 in the same month last year.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has no issue with voting age being lowered to 18 ahead of the next general election

For us in the state’s ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), we have no issue with the voting age being lowered to 18 ahead of the next general election. I spoke on my personal opinion on this matter during yesterday’s session with our media friends who highlighted this matter since the law (to lower the voting age) had been passed with an overwhelming majority in Parliament. 

I have mentioned that it should not be a problem so long as it can be implemented (in an) orderly (manner) and many have registered to vote. Being the vice-president of 

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president, I said that the matter would be up to the Election Commission (EC) to decide whether the country was ready to implement the lowering of the voting age for the next general election.

Our media friends had inquired on this because it is reported that the amendment to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age to 18 is already in the implementation stage, following it passing in Parliament in 2019 with 211 MPs across political divides supporting the amended Bill.  


Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, however, had recently said that it was ‘impractical’ to lower the voting age for now due to the challenges faced by the relevant implementing agencies. It is an interesting issue and it had stirred the sentiments among our young generation of voters simply because they are looking for to exercising their voting rights in a democratic country.



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Eagerly waiting for things going back to normal and to welcome visitors once more

We are eager to see things back to normal and to once again welcome visitors coming back to visit the lovely tourist attractions which include the historical Carpenter Street. As I have mentioned to our media friends during our walk about held this morning, we would love to see Carpenter Street to become a place just for pedestrians, something like a boulevard, while loading and unloading of goods can only take place during certain hours of the day. The street can also be converted into a dedicated walking trail with traffic only allowed to pass through during certain hours of the day.

I expressed hope for such proposal to become a reality soon, where the beautoful roofing similar to the one at the nearby India Street could be constructed at Carpenter Street. This can provide shade for tourists and locals like from the weather.

We gave the thumbs up to the ‘Kuching Old Bazaar’ project at Carpenter Street which was headed by Kuching Old Market Community Association and it was set out to preserve the history, traditions and culture of our city.

As part of the project, there is a historical book on our Kuching Old Bazaar as well as four tourism brochures, five promotional videos, 40 information plaques with a scannable QR code, a dedicated website, the setting up of profile pages on social media platforms and street arts presentation.

Our Kuching Old Bazaar was one of the first trading commercial centres and oldest bazaars in Sarawak. The area has witnessed many changes over the past 200 years of its history and it is indeed an important community in Sarawa. I think the Kuching Old Bazaar project will be a refreshing tourism product in our city, apart from the Intercultural Mooncake Festival and the three spectacular Goddess Parades from the two temples located along the street, namely Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple and Hong San Si Temple.

I have also remarked that the Kuching Old Bazaar brand should be expanded to include other areas in Padungan and India Street, as these places could be considered as part of the old Kuching heritage. I hope the Kuching Old Bazaar would one day be able to be on par or to rival the brand of Singapore’s Chinatown, Penang’s Georgetown and Malacca’s Jonker Walk.

Apart from that, I have suggested for a unit should be set up to look after sunset industries that were synonymous with Kuching’s history, such as supporting the boat operators along Sarawak River at our famous Waterfront to sustain their business going forward.

As such, the state government is also planning to establish a craft centre in Kuching to serve as an avenue to promote local craft products and to draft a new Sarawak Craft Council Ordinance to further develop the state craft industry.

Going forward with our post-Covid19 recovery efforts by creating green bubble travel

As a mean to go forward in our post-Covid19 recovery efforts, Sarawak will be exploring the possibility of creating green bubble travel directly with our neighbouring countries namely Singapore and Brunei via the use of vaccination passports to facilitate tourists arrivals.

Such initiatives are still in the pipeline because the devolution of powers is still under discussion with our federal counterparts and it is under the 3rd Sarawak Tourism Master Plan as it involves the federal-state negotiation on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

I have mentioned this to our media fraternity during our press conference held this afternoon and we are working closely with the federal government on this matter so to allow authorities at state-level to approve applications for tourism-related licensing and to issue licences such as tourist guide licences.

We are also following up closely with Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) and have sent our ideas to the Singapore High Commission. Perhaps one day we can have a special arrangement with them but at this moment, we have not officially met or sat down to discuss this matter.

Although this would be one way to expedite the recovery of the state’s tourism sector but still there is also a need to restore visitors’ confidence in travel while focusing on reviving domestic tourism. I have asserted that presently, most us are still having fear of traveling abroad and also the various travel restrictions imposed in respective countries.

As we are all aware, no one wants to open their doors for visitors at this moment. Same goes to us here in Sarawak and Malaysia. Therefore, the gradual rollout of Covid19 vaccines is expected to help restore visitors' confidence in travel, to ease travel restrictions and to slowly normalise travel by this year.

We must remember the Malaysian government is giving top priority to safeguarding the safety and well-being of the people by trying to secure a steady supply of Covid19 vaccines as soon as possible to cover more than 80 per cent of the country’s population. Of course these efforts will bring new hope for Malaysia to exit the Covid19 crisis and allow the country to gradually recover.

For our state government, we aim to complete its vaccination program by August 2021. Therefore domestic travel within Malaysia and Sarawak is expected to slowly recover in the second half of 2021. We are also anticipating for the total visitor arrival to reach 1.1 million with an estimated tourism receipts of RM2.64 billion but such estimated target will depend very much on the Covid-19 global situation as well.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Kuching Civic Centre and all those found throughout Sarawak are now under Ministry of Youth and Sports

The Kuching Civic Centre which is regarded as one of the major landmarks in our city, with its futuristic umbrella-shaped tower offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and the surroundings, will see better days. 

I have informed our media friends from The Borneo Post that the State Cabinet had decided for Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak (MYSS) will take over all Civic Centres in the state from Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development.


I had also revealed that my ministry is now in the process of acquiring the provisions for maintenance and repairs to the complex here, adding that this effort was not limited to the Kuching Civic Centre but also covers other civic centres located throughout Sarawak.


We are still doing the study and need to come up with the expected costs for upgrading and repairs which will then be presented to our state government. We still have to wait (for the funding) from the state government and we do not want to do it on a piecemeal basis as a lot of them (the civic centres) are quite run down.


Normally when it comes to depreciation, things need to be repaired or replaced, it has to go through the Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR)…we are still in the process of finalising it.


The Kuching Civic Centre itself was officially opened on August 1, 1988, following the proclamation of Kuching’s status as a city and its white-domed structure also houses the Sultan Iskandar Planetarium which was the first planetarium opened in Malaysia on Jan 19, 1989.


Thumbs up for the establishment of our High-Performance Cricket Centre (HPC) at Sarawak Sport Complex in Petra Jaya.

Kudos to Sarawak Cricket Association (SCA) who had joined forces with our Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYSS) and Sarawak Sport Corporation in the establishment of of a High-Performance Cricket Centre (HPC) at Sarawak Sport Complex in Petra Jaya. 

The new facility will have 5 artificial practice wickets fields with synthetic surfaced practice area including 25-meter bowler’s run-ups and a 6.m high safety netting surrounding the section. Such features are comparable to other world-class training facilities in cricket test nations such as Australia & New Zealand. Each lane is also retractable and will enable players to have a double net with more space, or even an open net using the entire area – this can then utilize fielders as well in more match-like conditions.

I went for viist to the HPC recently and is optimistic the new facility will help to develop more local talents and excel in the sport of cricket at National Level. The centre is also an example of our government's commitment to continuously assist sports associations to boost their achievement levels. 

The Cricket HPC is part of MYSS planned high-performance sports center strategy that is aimed to strengthen various sports infrastructures that can make Sarawak a sports powerhouse in Malaysia. I am  confident with the availability of many high-performance sports centers in Sarawa will enable us to nurture and produce world class athletes in the near future.

We give our thumbs up to SCA for working closely with the Malaysia Cricket Association (MCA) to implement the Cricket Adiwira program in various primary schools in Sarawak together with the support from Ministry of Education. At the same time, the Sarawak cricket head coach Sri Lankan Pramuka Sidesh is confident that with the availability of improved training facilities we have back home will enable our local athletes to be well prepared when participating in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) 2022. 

Friday, 12 March 2021

Applauding our High Court’s ruling on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision to proclaim an emergency that cannot be challenged

I had applauded the High Court’s ruling on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision to proclaim an emergency that cannot be challenged in any court of law.

I also concurred with what Justice Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid had said that it was provided for under Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution which among others states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision on the proclamation of emergency shall be final and conclusive and cannot be challenged in any court of law.

The law on emergency in Malaysia is very clear and I am happy to see that our Court has upheld this and therefore, do not let the institution of the Agong to be tarnished by individuals who questioned His Majesty’s authority.

My thanks to our media friends from New Sarawak Tribune who seeked my comments on Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision on March 11 in dismissing the leave application for a judicial review recently brought up by three elected representatives who challenged the suspension of Parliament and state assembly sittings during an emergency.

Those involved were Simpang Jeram assemblyman and Pulai MP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Gurun assemblyman and Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul and Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari.

On Jan 12, Istana Negara announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the Proclamation of Emergency to be implemented nationwide until Aug 1, as a proactive measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic which is still affecting the world and also our country.

Feeling blessed for our kampung folks who received numerous assistances from Sarawak Government

Together with our village folks in Asajaya, we are blessed to have received numerous assistance from our State Government including water tanks for daily usage and it also helps to serve water reserves in the event of water supply problems especially during dry spell.

We are also grateful to the Sarawak Government which had already allocated RM2.8 billion under the water supply grid program and another RM2.37 billion for electricity supply projects in rural areas for the benefit of our outstation folks.

In Asajaya itself, a total of 3,140 tanks had been distributed through three phases with the aim of helping our kampung folks to have good water storage in the event of any water supply problem.

Meanwhile, a total of 30 hawkers in Kampung Sebandi Ulu will also be receiving assistance in the form of canopies, tables and chairs that will reduce their burden of buying the items and this will help improve their livelihood.

Kudos to our Asajaya District Office for inviting me to grace the symbolic handover ceremony for the water tanks to our kampung folks at the Kampung Sebandi Ulu Community Hall, Asajaya held last Tuesday.

In my speech, I also advise our kampung folks who had receive water tanks to take care of the items and to make the best use of the facility for the good of their families.

Also present during the handing over ceremony were namely Rais Ahmat, Asajaya District Officer, Samarahan District Information Officer, Abdul Latip Shamsudin, Asajaya Administrative Officer Puan Hasanah Bujang, Temenggong Haji Chek Bujang and Penghulu of Kamoung Sebandi Ulu Lama.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Thumbs up for our very own high per­for­mance re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre

Our local ath­letes can look forward to getting back in shape and rely on the services of a sports spe­cific re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre which had been established to help them re­cover from sports in­juries. Kudos to Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) and Sarawak State Sports Council (MSN Sarawak) for establishing the centre because Sarawak is one of the few states that has a high per­for­mance re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre that is aimed at help­ing in­jured ath­letes re­cover quickly and safely from sports re­lated in­juries and to re­turn to peak per­for­mance.

The high per­for­mance re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre will facilitate our efforts to have a good High Per­for­mance Unit (HPU) that is located at the Pan­delela Ri­nong Aquatic Cen­tre in Petra Jaya and during its ini­tial op­er­a­tions in Jan­uary last year, it had catered to 109 ath­letes from 23 different sports.

Thus, our state ath­letes have ben­e­fit­ted from the var­i­ous phys­io­ther­apy ser­vices since then while some of them have even gone on to be­come podium win­ners and have been drafted into the na­tional squads. I congratulate both SSC and MSN Sarawak who collaborated with Rehab Concept in providing recovery services and assitances to our athletes who suffered com­mon sport in­juries such as back prob­lems, lig­a­ment strains and sprains, an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment and menis­cus tears, muscular strains and ten­donitis in the shoul­ders or dif­fer­ent mus­cles of the legs.

The establishment of the cen­tre itself is im­por­tant to us be­cause re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion after an in­jury will help ath­letes to re­sum­e train­ing as soon as pos­si­ble and our ath­letes need to be in­jury-free and physically fit to pose a strong chal­lenge at Sukma Jo­hor next year and in other com­pe­ti­tions.

The working visit to the high per­for­mance re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre was performed by our Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Sarawak, YB Datuk Snowdan Lawan recently and he was accompanied by our acting permanent secretary, Puan Nancy Jolhie and CEO of SSC, Dr Ong Kong Swee.

The centre is manned by an ex­pe­ri­enced team of mus­cu­loskele­tal phys­io­ther­a­pists as well as sports ther­a­pists and the facilities include equip­ments im­ported from the US at a cost of around RM150,000. Our ath­letes who have re­cov­ered from their injuries will be re­ferred to the Strength and Con­di­tion­ing team of the HPU for a Re­turn to Sport pro­gramme to ensure they are competion ready.

All round support for Sarawak's Post-Covid-19 Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan

Its all applause from all of us on the news that Sarawak will soon un­veil its Post-Covid-19 Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan for the state in our efforts to stay on track in achiev­ing its tar­get of be­com­ing a de­vel­oped state in 2030.

This was mentioned by our Chief Min­is­ter #AbangJo in his speech at the launching ceremony of the state-level Jiwa Murni Pro­ject held in Gedong recently and he had ex­pressed the con­fi­dence for our lives can soon re­turn to nor­mal and for the local econ­omy to re­cover now that the Covid-19 vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme is un­der­way.

According to him, the state needs our supports in building what is needed as we re­cover our econ­omy and Insyallah, the state gov­ern­ment will give a new di­rec­tion and we will reach our tar­get by 2030 through what is dubbed as the Post-Covid-19 Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan.

He added that this is be­ing drafted and we will de­velop eco­nomic sec­tors which that will give us good re­turns and create job op­por­tu­ni­ties to our local folks af­fected by the Covid-19 pan­demic.

I was also invited to the function which was held in con­junc­tion with the 88th Army Day cel­e­bra­tion which was also attended by our Army com­man­der, Gen­eral Tan Sri Datuk Zam­rose Mohd Zain, East­ern Field Com­mand com­man­der Lt-Gen­eral Datuk Mardzuki Muham­mad and First Di­vi­sion In­fantry com­man­der Ma­jor Gen­eral Datuk Dzulk­i­fli Mustaffa. Also present were YB Dato Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia who is also Member of Parliament for P200 Batang Sadong, YB Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais our Assistant Minister for Entrepreneur and SME Development and State Assemblyman for N26 Gedong, YB Datuk Julaihi our Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development, YB Awla Idris our State Assemblyman for Simunjan and State Assemblyman for Sadong Jaya, YB Ir Aidel Lariwoo. 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Thumbs up for the launching of "SABERKAS Prihatin" program for our local youths

I have commended the Sarawak United Na­tional Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SABERKAS) for having set up a volunteers and welfare unit which will be pro­viding as­sis­tances to in­di­vid­u­als especially local youths who are in need 

The establishment of the ‘SABERKAS Pri­hatin’ program as ‘a youth-fo­cused ini­tia­tive’ meant to en­sure that the association would con­tinue to become relevant to our local community especially among youths  in various as­pects of relevance. The ‘SABERKAS Pri­hatin’ program is be­ing man­aged by Saberkas So­cial and Wel­fare Sub-Com­mit­tee.

Such program will also en­able SABERKAS to be the main unity force among the local youths and the respective com­mu­nities they come from and this will facilitate their progress to become future leaders and responsible members of the society.

As the President of SABERKAS, the association also aims to provide support and as­sis­tances to our tar­get groups and to have volunteers who could come forward to render assistances during floods, land­slides, fires, en­vi­ron­men­tal­re­lated is­sues and health crises. They will also be helping less fortunate members of the society as well as the needy groups such as or­phans, in­di­vid­u­als with dis­abil­ity and poor fam­i­lies.

I thank SABERKAS office bearers for inviting me to grace the launching ceremony of the "SABERKAS Prihatin" program and during the speech I had also stressed for the association to in­cul­cate the spirit of vol­un­teerism among the younger gen­er­a­tion, adding that the mem­ber­ship is open to all youths aged 18 and above – ir­re­spec­tive of race, re­li­gion and po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion.

Some of the fu­ture pro­grammes that we are look­ing at would in­clude agri­cul­ture en­trepreneur­ship and erad­i­ca­tion of drugs abuse. I also expressed hope to bring SABERKAS to a higher level and at the same time, for it to re­main rel­e­vant among the youths – this could be achieved by us lis­ten­ing to the feed­back from the grass­roots level.

I have ad­vised all SABERKAS members to go down to the ground and to be en­gaged with our local youths while mak­ing sure that they would stay on track.. On an­other note, all of SABERKAS branches across the state would be given an al­lo­ca­tion of RM3,000 for run­ning ‘Saberkas Pri­hatin’ program. Presently there are 82 of our SABERKAS branches, in­clud­ing four to be set up soon, in Sarawak.

I thanked those who accompanied me during launch­ing cer­e­mony which include my Deputy President,  Datuk Dr Ab­dul Rah­man Ju­naidi who is also our As­sis­tant Min­is­ter of Util­i­ties (Wa­ter Sup­ply); La­yar assem­bly­man YB Ger­ald Ren­tap Jabu, po­lit­i­cal sec­re­tary to chief min­is­ter Michael Tiang and Abang Ab­dul Aziz Datuk Abang Draup – all of whom are Saberkas vice-pres­i­dents; Daro assem­bly­man YB Safiee Ah­mad who is the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sec­re­tary­gen­eral, and Sadong Jaya assem­bly­man Aidel Lari­woo who is the or­gan­is­ing sec­re­tary.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Celebrating International Women's Day 2021 in a modest scale

We are blessed for being able to celebrate this year's International Women's Day 2021 celebrations in our way despite having to observe the new normal and to celebrate the auspicious occasion on modest scale.

What is important is for all of us to remember and to celebrate the International Women's Day as a mean to acknowledge the contridbutions as well as the commitment given by our women folks in so many aspects of our lives. We celebrate this day to give recognition on our women folks from all walks of life for their achievements in economy, politics, community, social and cultural fields. Today is also the time we celebrate and highlighting the achievements as well as the struggles of our women folks. 

Friday, 5 March 2021

Getting excited with the upcoming Borneo Trail Classic (BTC) to be held on 16 to 17 October

Kudos to Kuching Fit­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (KFA) which will be col­lab­o­rat­ing with Sarawak Sports Cor­po­ra­tion (SSC) to or­gan­ise a se­ries of six free com­mu­nity runs lead­ing up to the main race. Both parties had also organised the coming Bor­neo Trail Clas­sic (BTC) which will be held at our Kubah Na­tional Park from 16 to 17 October where over 2,000 run­ners are expected to take part including those from outside Sarawak. 

Together with the organisers, we are very op­ti­mistic that ev­ery­thing will be al­right by Au­gust and the run­ners will be sign­ing up when the organisers launch their web­site reg­is­tra­tion starting 8 March and we are also pleased that Sarawak was the only stop in South-East Asia for the Spar­tan Trail World Cham­pi­onship.

The coming event is also a good plat­form and op­por­tu­nity to give the par­tic­i­pants the con­fi­dence to travel here, putting Sarawak on the world map as travel des­ti­na­tion for trail run­ning sport. Over here, we have the best kept trails - from the lush of the rain for­est to the paddy fields, a wide of va­ri­ety of scener­ies and moods, an ‘In­sta­grammable’ op­por­tu­ni­ties for the participants and perhaps those who are accompanying them too.

For Sarawakians, the coming events will give the op­por­tu­nities to run along­side world class trail run­ners, ex­pos­ing and groom­ing lo­cal ath­letes to world class stan­dards. The BTC is not lim­ited to the sea­soned run­ners but it is for any­one and ev­ery­one as there are dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories for all dif­fer­ent age groups and fit­ness level.

The international event is also giving us a good plat­form to show­case our unique cul­ture and warm hos­pi­tal­ity to the world and it pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to help revitalise our tourism in­dus­try post Covid-19. Thus, it will help pro­mote trail run­ning and iden­tify lo­cal tal­ents to rep­re­sent Sarawak and com­pet­ing against the in­ter­na­tional trail run­ners.

Sarawak had the opportunity to be showcased in the previous Spar­tan event held in 2019 because it is the world’s largest en­durance brand, had searched all over Asia for the best ter­rain and com­mu­nity to help build this epic trail event.

For our state to be included in 10 stops for this year's Spar­tan Trail World Cham­pi­onship se­ries is really an achievement because the other stops also in­clude Spain, Italy, Swe­den, Ar­gentina, US, Aus­tralia and Hong Kong.

According to the organisers, the BTC com­prises five dis­tances - 7km, 10km, 21km, 50km (Trail Run Cham­pi­onship) and 100km (Trail Ul­tra Cham­pi­onship). Those interested can reg­is­ter at www. bor­neo­trail­clas­ and the event is jointly or­gan­ised by Kuching Fit­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and Spar­tan Trail and is sup­ported by the Min­istry of Tourism, Arts and Cul­ture of Sarawak.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Proposing for a drug rehabilitation center for our local women folks

Our State gov­ern­ment should set up a drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for women in Sarawak because the cur­rent cen­tre which is available locally is only meant for men. I have made this call during the press conference organised by the Sarawak branch of Drugs Pre­ven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia (Pe­madam) held on March 3.

I had mentioned to our media members that such situation was un­ac­cept­able that there were only two fe­male pa­tients tem­po­rar­ily be­ing treated at the cen­tre here, although they were placed in sep­a­rate rooms from the male pa­tients.

If a fe­male drug user is found guilty by the court, she will also be sent to a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre located in Bachok, in Ke­lan­tan be­cause we simply do not have such a cen­tre for women in Sarawak. 

Thus, there is a need for a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for our women folks and the al­leged recent rape case involving a 16-year-old girl in Miri Po­lice sta­tion lockup by a male de­tainee, should also serve as a good les­son for the authorities.

I thank our local media fraternity who had published news reports on this issue and was widely circulated in both the mainstream and social media. Their support towards Pemadam Sarawak is very much appreciated because there are the source of news and important information for the general public who can contribute towards the success of our combat against drugs abuse and its menace.

Bringing our combat against drugs smuggling to another level by having more sniffer dogs

To bring our combat against the smuggling of drugs to another level, I have suggested for our State and Federal Government to have more sniffer dogs in the field as well as to set an allocation to buy and train more cannines to be placed at entry points into the country. This is because we have many airports, ports, Immigration posts and even parcel offices where drugs are smuggled in but we do not have sniffer dogs to be deployed at these places.

Being the Chairman of Sarawak's branch of Drug Prevention Association of Malaysia (Pemadam), I have voiced out my concerns since there was no tracking device available thus far for drug detection, only dogs could be trained to do so.

I have added that the public was concerned with the increase in the number of drug abuse and smuggling cases in the country, including in Sarawak, where it has now spread to villages, homes and farming areas in the interior. There are cases of drug abuse and trafficking occur daily everywhere and it had also involve syndicates hiring youths. 

If this is not curbed immediately, it could become more serious and difficult to tackle because drug smuggling has become a global issue whereby traffickers are using all means and ways to do their illicit operations. On another matter, I had also discussed with our Pemadam Exco members on the need to build a rehabilitation centre for women drug offenders in Sarawak as they are currently sent to a centre in Bachok, Kelantan which is far away from Sarawak.