KUCHING: After 56 years of being with Barisan Nasional (BN), Sarawak under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is finally standing on its own feet. In other words, it doesn’t need constant support from outside powers anymore.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this when officiating at the Sarawak Federation of Chinese Association (SFCA) installation dinner at Riverside Majestic Hotel last night.

He said Sabah and Sarawak must be on their own because they had their own resources except for human talents which, for the moment, are in short supply.

“If we have the human talents, I think we can be better than the Peninsula. We took the step to drop our ‘walking stick’ (tongkat) which was the Barisan Nasional. We decided to leave BN, believing that we can survive on Sarawak’s current development,” he said.

Abang Johari thought that Sabah and Sarawak were fortunate to be rich in resources on which they could focus in their regional development programmes, thereby making both states the keys to Malaysia’s economic development.

Abang Johari

“For the upcoming 12th Malaysia Plan, we are going to focus on four thrusts which are agriculture (using Internent of Things or IoT and advanced technology); tourism and services; infrastructure development as well as education and training.

“These are the four thrusts which will be emphasised in the next Malaysia Plan along with our target of becoming a high-income state by 2030,” he said.

He stressed that education was the key and thankfully for Sarawak, the people were able to understand each other partly due to mixed marriages and constant interaction between the races such as Iban, Chinese, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and so on.

Abang Johari also remarked, “In terms of Chinese education, we recognise UEC (Unified Education Certificate) and as a result, a lot of Chinese schools now have bumiputera students.

“There has been an increase of enrolment of bumiputeras in Chinese schools across the state, which is why it is a great platform to create hybrid bumiputeras who can master English, Malay and Chinese, and the same applies to Chinese students.”

He added that it is a real practical platform seeing that the global economy has changed with English speaking being the number one option and Mandarin coming in second.

He further explained that he wants Sarawakians to be able to survive in foreign countries by mastering English and Mandarin.