KUCHING: Sarawak must continue to strive for development which is fair, impartial, and meaningful to all people regardless of race, religious beliefs, and other differences.
Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud exhorted that personal agenda and group interests must not get in the way of development policies for the greater good of the people.
He noted that the state government was implementing a long-term development plan called the Sarawak Socio-economic Transformation Plan (SETP), with the key objective of accelerating income and reducing the income gap among the people.
“It will focus on efforts to create opportunities to build a high-income economy with existing resources and not just improve existing industries,” he said in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message.
The Head of State said private investments would continue to be encouraged as the main driver for the development of new industries in sectors outside of the oil industry. The government would play a driving role to explore new potential in the process of industrialising the state economy.
Taib said Sarawak must continue striving to increase its gross domestic product (GDP) and average income.
“We should be proud of the ways that the government manages the state’s finances. The state’s financial statements have once again been given a clean certificate by the Auditor General for 15 years in a row. This recognition is given based on transparent and responsible financial management practices,” he said.
“Indeed, we should be proud of our ability to achieve a very encouraging level of development and progress as a result of our ability to uphold unity and good relations among our people, who are made up of various ethnic groups, religious beliefs, and backgrounds,” he added.
He believed that the people’s strong support would continue to remain for the government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He also expressed confidence that the chief minister would continue to work to boost prosperity in realising Sarawak’s dream of becoming the most developed state by 2030.
“With this success, Sarawak will be able to provide employment opportunities with high income, not only for Sarawakians but for the people of Malaysia as a whole.”
He said an indicator of the state’s development was that the people who once resided in coastal villages and distant longhouses were now able to meet in an urban setting.
“This has further strengthened the relationship between our people. All this has brought about a new form of society which is more friendly and cohesive,” he said.
Taib said the people including the rural folk understood that the development process required significant time and financial allocation.
However, he said this was not an obstacle for the state government which always strive to take care of the interests of the people of Sarawak.
“The Sarawak government always strives to do its best for the development agenda of the state. As such, the government has continued its efforts to transform the rural areas through the provision of basic infrastructures such as roads, water and electricity supply, health facilities and education.
“These basic facilities are needed to attract economic activities such as agro-based industries, commercial plantations, and tourism,” he said.
He noted that the government had also planned the development of several rural growth centres (RGCs) as a strategy to enhance rural transformation.
“This move will certainly bring a positive impact to the local community in terms of business and employment opportunities. I am confident that rural transformation will bridge the development gap between urban and rural areas,” said Taib.