Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Kudos to initiatives under PEMULIH which will benefit our creative and art industry

We welcome the Federal government's efforts in allocating RM100 million in the form of funding facilities and financial assistances that are aimed to alleviate the plight of over 8,000 people who are involve in our local arts and creative industry presently affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Together we thank our Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Federal government for the generous allocation that would in­clude incentives for production works and digital content; career opportunities; skills development pro­grammes; contributions under the Social Security Organisation (Socso). The allocation also covers procurement of products for the purpose of production on television, radio as well as the composition of songs.

Those involved in our local arts and creative industry had lauded the announcement of National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (PEMULIH) on June 28 by the Prime Minister which will lessen the impacts of the existing Movement Control Order (MCO).

Apart from that, the PEMULIH package will also benefit hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local tourism company offices, travel and tourism agencies. This include a 10 per cent electricity bill discount for October to December 2021 bills.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Vaccinations for our Sarawak athletes and their coaches including those Sukma-bound

Syukur alhamdullilah our Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak (MYSS) had recently received good news from the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) on the request for local state athletes and their coaches to be given Covid-19 vaccination. The request was made through Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) led by its chief executive officer, Dr Ong Kong Swee last week and the vaccination process will start on June 28 (Monday) including those who are Sukma-bound (Malaysian Games) athletes or not, our sports officials or coaches who are looking after them too.

Once we receive the green light from SDMC, we can just call the athletes to get the vaccines at our facilities like Stadium Perpaduan is currently used for vaccination programme and so the exercise will be convenient too. Recently I have pointed out to our media friends that most of our state  athletes are still young and therefore, they are not eligible yet to be in the queue to be called for the vaccination. However, the green light given by SDMC will help us to do this and so that each sports association where we have State athletes who are currently preparing for Sukma, can bring them over to get vaccinated. Big thanks to our Sarawak Government and SDMC in making our state contingent the first to vaccine its Sukma-bound athletes as well as their coaches and officials who need to be prepare well for the country's largest sports meet in Johor next year.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Overwhelming response towards our local Tourism Sector Industrial Covid-19 Vaccination Program

I was delighted with the overwhelming response towards our Tourism Sector Industrial Covid-19 Vaccination program which is the first of its kind in Malaysia whereby 2,000 of our local tourism players and workforce have registered for the 4-day vaccination exercise to be carried out on June 24 to 27. 

This morning I was invited to visit the vaccination centre which was located at the Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) building at Jalan Stampin in Kuching together with Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Dato Seri Hajah Nancy Shukri.

The wonderful program is a collaboration between MOTAC, our Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Ministry of Health of Malaysia (KKM), Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) and Timberland Medical Centre.

A total of 321 involved in the various tourism sector had been successfully vaccinated on the first day of the programme on 24 June 2021 and we are confident all the registered participants of the programme will be vaccinated over the next few days.

The Industrial Vaccination Programme for Tourism Sector had been coordinated through ProtectHealth Corporation (PHC) after approval has been obtained from the National and State Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF). Under the programme, the private sector is required to prepare and fund their own qualified medical team and vaccination centre, while the vaccine will be supplied and delivered to them free of charge by the government.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Rebuking what Sarawak People's Aspiration Party (ASPIRASI) had proposed for our DUN to convene

Recently I have rebuked Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president, Lina Soo who may just trying to gain political mileage by proposing for a final Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to convene before the nation's state of Emergency is lifted.

I have mentioned to our local media friends that Soo may just be ‘playing to the gallery’ to show that she is a responsible citizen and wants to ensure the legislature is doing something. It is my opinion that in view of the likelihood our DUN will automatically dissolve on August 1 and to just let it dissolve. We let the rakyat determine who will be the State government after the election. Just be patient and don’t get over excited. 

The sitting can always be held after we have known who has the majority to form the government. We are also unsure whether Sarawak DUN sitting can be called now as legally the existing tenure ended on June 6 and was extended due to the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021. I have also explained that there are many preparations to call for a DUN sitting including providing notices to lawmakers and the process has to be guided by law and takes time.

To call for a DUN sitting, the relevant offices will be guided by the DUN Standing Order, which among others, requires for a Statutory Notice to be given to all Assembly members and this Notice normally is given 28 days before the intended date of sitting. Time definitely is not on our side to call for the sitting. Apart from the Notice, many other preparations like questions from members... will normally be forwarded to the respective Ministries for answers...this will also take time. She (Lina) will not know this because she has never been a representative before and will not understand how the system works.

Welcoming the proposal for Kuching City as one of the destinations for the implementation of their Covid-19 Free Destination Pilot Project

We welcome the proposal by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) to include Kuching City as one of the destinations for the implementation of their Covid-19 Free Destination Pilot Project. The project was announced recently by our Malaysian Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri who mentioned it was aimed at reviving Malaysia’ tourism industry by encouraging foreign and local tourists including expatriates residing in the country to travel. 

According to her, the other proposed destination for the project was Langkawi and Kuching was selected because it was on the path of national integration and at the same time, it had enhanced unity in the country through tourism and culture. We fully support the selection of Kuching after Langkawi for this project because it is also in line with efforts to elevate our city as one of the creative city networks at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and ASEAN levels under the gastronomy category in the near future.

Sarawak is blessed with its rich biodiversity with the existence of various herbal plants that will also add tourism value to Kuching which is already well known for its cultural diversity, colourful traditions and ethnic-based delicacies. We will certainly support MOTAC on this project and to give them relevant feedbacks on the tourist attractions to be highlighted as key destinations in our country too. On the opening of the tourism industry, there is need to look at the safety aspects of our locals but also at other acceptable market aspects with vaccinated tourists as the main target. 

Monday, 21 June 2021

Suggesting for our authorities to include all youths in vaccination exercise

Recently I have suggested for the relevant authorities to focus on vaccinating youths aged 18 years old and above apart from those who will be sitting for the forthcoming Sjil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examinations.

Such proposed measure should also include youths who are not sitting for public examinations this year. One of the ways to flatten the Covid-19 curve is to get people vaccinated and personally I am happy to see the government is doing well in going along that line.

But please don’t stop at SPM or STPM students, or just focus on those sitting for the examinations, as there are many youths who might not be there. Some of them are in vocational schools and they might not be sitting for SPM or some of them are already working in plantations or other places

I have said so because it is crucial that the group be not left behind in the government’s efforts to achieve herd immunity. We cannot leave them out, because for us to get to this herd immunity, the whole idea is to get as many people as possible vaccinated,

Thus, it is our hope after this the relevant authorities can look at other aspects, probably those who are in vocational schools, sekolah pondok, or those who are already at university and colleges.

Meanwhile, I have also mentioned that there will be a return of activities for Sarawak’s Ministry Youth and Sports for our local youths’ participation and such efforts are underway to revive the activities which have been temporary halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now I am looking at getting the activities back, not just for the Youth and Sports Ministry but also the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry. The younger generation are those who are in the category of people who are proactive, and it is difficult to lock them up. When they are go outside, they can become better individuals through working alongside the community.

At the same time, I will also be writing to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to prioritise our local athletes for vaccination so that they are able to train in peace and are not interrupted by Covid-19 infections.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Kudos to Malaysia Tourism Excellence (MaTEx) Business Certification Programme

Kudos to Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) for organising the recent Malaysia Tourism Excellence (MaTEx) Business Certification Programme where a total of 16 of our local homestay operators were awarded certification of excellent quality assurance via online.

Our local operators also received certificates of compliance under TPN’s Adopt and Adhere Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) guidelines based on the satisfactory fulfilment of the industry-level standard for homestays comprising 181 indicators. Those who had also received the Adopt and Adhere certificate of compliance after scoring 90 per cent from the 69 indicators.

It is also heartening that the certified homestay operators took advantage of the stay at home Movement Control Order (MCO) to improve the condition of their homestays based on the standard’s indicators. The MaTEx business certification programme which is on the continuous improvement of tourism products and services is serving us well the certified homestay operators are also awarded Covid-19 SOP certificate of compliance to prove that their premises and services are safe and clean, and most importantly adhere to strict Covid-19 SOP.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Sarawak is among top 5 in Malaysia getting highest distribution of COVID19 vaccines

It is heartening to know that Sarawak is among the top 5 states and territories that are getting the highest distribution of COVID19 vaccines under our National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) presently with 697,736 out of the 5,955,092 doses of vaccines that were distributed nationwide so far.

We welcome such announcement made by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Programme Coordinating Minister during the recent weekly Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) press conference whereby the country's highest distribution of vaccines is in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with 902,690 doses. Apart from that, Selangor received 898,230 doses, Sarawak 697,736 doses, Johor 547,280 doses, and Sabah 503,590 doses.

YB Khairy also mentioned that to date, the registration for Phase 2 of the NCIP has reached a total of 4,531,790 individuals, of which 2,458,432 are senior citizens while the number of those who have received their scheduled appointment dates is 2,437,168 individuals.

According to him, the overall vaccination rate of the country continues to increase and did not decrease much over the past weekend where it still recorded a rate of 100,000 and more doses per day. On the average number of dose given last week (from June 7 to 13), it was 130,842 doses a day. This is heartening for all of us because it is an increase compare to 94,481 doses a day in the previous week with the total number of vaccine doses given to-date is 4,490,270. 

Meanwhile, our Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas had mentioned that Sarawak will only allow the "walk in and get your jab" approach for the present COVID19 vaccination program for local folks in the interior areas. This is because the approach is to facilitate our rural folks especially in longhouses and villages to register themselves after getting their vaccination in which the State Medical Department would advise them to converge at strategic health centres or schools for the vaccination process.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Sharing my views on the need to speed up our vaccination process

I have expressed my views and agreed with the suggestions made by our Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for the normal procedures to be changed to speed up the existing vaccination process. 

This is because many people are still waiting to be vaccinated but to call them for the jabs would too time-consuming and bureaucratic. There are many who have been waiting to be called through the MySejahtera app for weeks and months. But still, they have yet to be called, especially in Sarawak where many areas do not have good digital networks.

Therefore, the Health Department may need to look for better and faster ways to do this so that vaccinations can be carried out quickly and involve more people.

Being a member of the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), I have also mentioned to our media friends that the situation might be why Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said those in rural areas should be given the vaccines first before their details were taken.

Currently Malaysia had only approved the use of three vaccines while other countries had approved the use of other types of vaccines. For the record, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sinopharm for worldwide emergency use and surely, it cannot all be wrong.

In the present face of the abnormal situation, normal procedures could no longer be used. Hence, our local government agencies had to move in line with international bodies in issuing emergency approval quickly so that everyone can get vaccinated.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Virtual experience of Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) on June 18 to 20

Backed by popular demand, this year’s Rain­for­est World Mu­sic Fes­ti­val (RWMF) will be held vir­tually so that the general public can still enjoy and seemingly ex­pe­ri­ence the event Online from June 18 to 20. The event will fea­tur­e a ret­ro­spec­tive of past per­for­mances and new pre-recorded ses­sions with our local talents who include Alena Mu­rang, Ke­mada, Sang Rawi, At Adau, Tuku Kame, Suk Binie’, Nad­ing Rhap­sody, and Mathew Ngau. They will per­forming in be­tween flash­backs of favourite mu­si­cal acts from pre­vi­ous years.

Despite facing the ongoing challenges and restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic, it is still im­por­tant for us to continue re­mem­bering and cherish the fond memories of Sarawak's world-famed Rain­for­est World Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. Thus, the RWMF 2021 is aimed to provide a good vir­tual ex­pe­ri­ence for those who are miss­ing the ex­cite­ment of going to our an­nual international music festival and perhaps to build up their an­tic­i­pa­tion for the coming future events.

For the virtual RWMF 2021’s theme, it is called ‘En­tranced, Lib­er­ated, Im­mersed’ that aims to cap­ture the spirit of the RWMF as a whole, and we look for­ward to better days after the pandemic.

Those who are interested can reg­is­ter online and they will be el­i­gi­ble for give­aways held dur­ing the on­line stream­ing, with prizes such as RWMF 2022 tick­ets, dis­counts to se­lect ho­tels, and RWMF mer­chan­dise up for grabs.

The organisers have arranged for limited and qual­ified viewers with goodie bags whereby they have to like the of­fi­cial RWMF page; post a photo or video of them­selves at pre­vi­ous RWMFs or watch­ing the vir­tual ex­pe­ri­ence; in­clude #rwm­f2021vir­tual or tag the RWMF of­fi­cial Face­book page; and share the post on their own Face­book page.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Our folks are giving their two thumbs up to the hybrid method of registering people in outstation areas for vaccination

Our local folks especially those in rural areas are giving their two thumbs up to the hybrid method of registering people in outstation areas for vaccination through MySejahtera apps and also manual ways.

This was mentioned by our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg who said such method is considered since many rural folks live far from vaccination centres. Thus, they will still be vaccinated if they turn up without first registering through MySejahtera or at the various Resident's Office.

Our Chief Minister had also requested all elected representatives to help register people in their respective constituencies so that Sarawak can achieve herd immunity by the end of August. Sarawak will receive 380,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine on 8 June and this will enable us to speed up its Covid-19 immunisation process in the effort to achieve herd immunity as targeted.

The present batch of vaccine doses is also part of the amount announced by National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) which was recently announced by YB  Khairy Jamaluddin who is also the coordinating minister for the programme. 

Sarawak would receive 380,000 doses of vaccine every week beginning the first week of June until the end of August, putting us on track to be the first in Malaysia to complete its immunisation programme by vaccinating 2.2 million of its population.

According to our Chief Minister, Miri will receive 89,360 doses on June 10 and about 30,000 of our local folks had registered for the AstraZeneca vaccine where by Sarawak’s target is to hit one million vaccine jabs by the end of this month.

As of 7 June, a total of 1,000 of our folks got their jabs at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) vaccination centre and another was opened at the National Youth Skills Training Centre (IKBN) in Miri, which will operate from 8 June until the end of July.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Contributing to Sarawak's State Disaster Fund is to help our local folks. not merely for publicity

Recently I had openly requested our local opposition party leaders not to simply criticise the state GPS government leaders’ good intention to play their part in contributing towards the State Disaster Fund that was aimed to curb the spread of Covid19.

I have mentioned DAP's Sarawak chairman, YB Chong Chieng Jen and president of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), YB president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh who should not chastise us as all we want to do is to help our local folks.

I have told them that if you too want to help, please do so and donate your salaries too. If the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) assemblymen are willing to donate two months of their salaries, both of them should do so as well.

The move made by the state government's cabinet, GPS state assemblymen and political secretaries in contributing two months of their salaries was to show that we are concern with the local folk’s plight and in doing so, even those in civil service have agreed to donate to the State Disaster Fund.

Both DAP and PSB may say that the move was simply a political gimmick to get publicity mileage but similar move had been emulated by other state governments nationwide, including that in Penang which is governed by the DAP.

It is not only the Sarawak GPS leaders donating their salaries, the Penang government leaders who are DAP members are also doing the same although they are only giving one month's salary. Thus, if they (Sarawak DAP) say we in GPS are only trying to attract publicity, then how about the Penang government which is run by DAP? Is it only doing it for publicity as well?

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Talking about the automatic dissolution of our State Legislative Assembly if there is no extension of nationwide emergency

Recently I have mentioned to our media friends that the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) term will automatically dissolve on August 1, 2021 if there is no extension of the nationwide emergency.

Speaking as the vice-president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), I have also mentioned that when the emergency ends on Aug 1, our 12th State Election (PRN12) must be held within 60 days from that date.

The term of the present DUN as stipulated in the Federal Constitution and State Constitution is five years which ends on June 6, 2021, which is now superseded by the Emergency Ordinance 2021. Upon its dissolution, the law stipulates that an election must be held within 60 days from the date of dissolution. However, due to the emergency being imposed now, the emergency powers override the constitution.

I have also stressed that the emergency was proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. If, on August 1, the pandemic has not subsided in Sarawak and the Yang Dipertuan Agong feels that it is not safe for the state election to be held, he may proclaim further extension to the emergency and the state election will be further delayed.

On my personal view on the question of when is the right time for our state election to be held, I have mentioned that it is dependent on the Covid-19 situation because the safety of our local folks is of utmost importance and this should not be compromised. We also hope that with the extensive vaccination programme being done, it could bring down the spike of Covid-19 cases and thus make way for the election to be held safely.

Previously on May 25, our Chief Minister Office (CMO) in a statement had announced that Duli Yang Maha Mulia, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had advised Sarawak's Government to function as usual with the powers under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 after looking at the rather worrying situation of Covid-19, .

This was also after leaders of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government, led by our Right Honourable Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, had an audience with the King via online meeting regarding the DUN term and PRN12.

The statement also said that following the declaration of emergency on January 11 until August 1, the power to dissolve the Sarawak DUN falls under the jurisdiction of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in accordance with Article 13 and Article 15 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.

In line with the authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, our Chief Minister had handed over the decision to dissolve Sarawak's state assembly on an appropriate date at the discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong together with the Head of State of Sarawak after receiving advice from the Attorney-General, Election Commission (EC), Health Ministry, Royal Malaysian Police, and Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).

Doing our part in contributing State Disaster Fund


Members of Sarawak cabinet including myself have wholeheartedly supported the move for us to contribute towards the State Disaster Fund can be best described as a reflection of our caring state government and its local leaders.

Hopefully, the two months’ salary deduction and contribution to the State Disaster Fund can help address in a small way the difficulties that the public are facing now. Such initiative is also a testimony that our GPS Sarawak government is very concerned in taking care of the welfare of the people of Sarawak in many ways.

Thus, we fully support our Right Honourable Chief Minister’s recent announcement on the two months’ worth of salary from Sarawak Cabinet ministers and allowances from GPS’ state assembly representatives as well as political secretaries that would be contributed to the State Disaster Fund.

Apart from that, Sarawak civil servants, excluding frontliners directly involved in the control of the Covid-19 pandemic, will also contribute a certain amount of their fixed entertainment allowance (ITK) in July and August to the fund. 

It is our commitment in helping our local folks and part of the continuous effort to ensure that every community members affected by the Covid-19 pandemic will be assisted through such contribution. We are still fighting the battle against Covid-19 situation together and all affected communities must also continue to adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by our government in order to break the Covid-19 chain so that everyone remain safe.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Welcoming the recent launch of e-belia programme by our YAB Prime Minister

 We welcome the recently launched e-Belia programme that will give RM150 in e-wallet funds to all youths aged 18 to 20 as well as full time undergraduates who are studying in various higher education institutes (IPT).

Big thanks to our Federal Government led by Right Honourable Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in allocating RM300 million for the pro­gramme under Budget 2021 that will benefit to 2 million Malaysians aged 18 to 20 as well as full-time IPT students.

Such initia­tive is also expected to boost our local economy because of the spin off effects and it will encourage micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to start accepting cashless payments and to accelerate the shift to a digital economy.

According to our Prime Minister, the initiative is also giving the opportunity for us to support our local entrepreneurs, who are mainly youths as well. “As a digital citizen, I believe you can pioneer cashless payment meth­ods, thus encouraging other merchants to use such payment methods,” the Prime Minister had mentioned said in his speech at the recent launching ceremony. The period for the youths to claim the credits is from 1 June 2021 to 22 July 2021, and the credit can be spent until 31 July 2021.

One thing good from this initiative is that most of the operators will also match or give offers greater amounts than the RM150 which our government had given, in the form of credits or reward points.

We share the prime minister’s views on today’s youths who are the generation of digital natives who play very important role in steering and ensuring the success of our country’s digitalisation efforts. Our youths are also very lucky as they are able to make optimal use of digital applications to increase their knowledge, to communicate with each other and even to find job and business opportunities.

The government had always encouraged our youths to continue exploring innovations and become idea initiators in line with the development of new technologies. Being digital na­tives, our youths can also spearhead the adoption of cashless payment methods and encourage other business operators and traders in adopting cashless solutions. The digital natives, who are the main generator of our national digitalisation agenda, made up 13.4 per cent or more than 3.9 mil­lion of Malaysia’s population.

Kudos also to our government’s efforts in implementing various aspects of digitalisation in its business operations with the aim to achieve cashless payments for all public services by 2022, in line with the objectives of Budget 2021 in order to improve the public service delivery. Thus, members of the public will no longer have to join long queues just to make payments at various service counters and this will benefit the government as mentioned by our prime minister, as of last year 60 per cent of the government’s revenue collection was through e-payment.