Current needs not neglected under initiatives
By:Tania Lam
Sim Kian Cheok

KUCHING: The twelve initiatives planned by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to chart Sarawak’s way forward are comprehensive and far-sighted, yet still supports the immediate need to pump prime resources into the state’s economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok said this when commenting on the Chief Minister’s winding up speech delivered in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) on Friday (Nov 13).

The 12 initiatives are Digital Transformation, Innovation, Education and Human Capital, Agriculture, Services Sector, Infrastructure and Utilities, Transportation, Renewable Energy, Tourism, Forestry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneur Development, and Mining.

“They encourage modern methods and the right strategies to propel Sarawak forward,” he said when contacted on Saturday.

On the special incentive of one and a half months of basic salary or a minimum of RM2,000 for Sarawak civil service officers and RM500 for federal civil servants serving in Sarawak, he said this was a timely and correct move in appreciation of the excellent service by all civil servants in carrying out their duties at the frontlines and behind the scenes.

“We can appreciate their excellent work because during this Covid-19 pandemic, our state is being run in a very orderly manner for all citizens without many problems.  

“The balance of life and livelihood is being very well managed by our government with the hard working and dedicated civil servants,” he said.

Sim said this special incentive would also help to invigorate the current slow economy by increasing income to facilitate spending in local businesses.

At the same time, he commended the Chief Minister’s foresight in applying for a digital banking licence from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

“This is an important part of the puzzle to create our own digital economy that will bring success, as all businesses need capital to function properly and to compete in the world digital market,” he said.

He also said human capital was very important in Sarawak and due to the small population here, the state’s approach to becoming a developed state had to be very much different from any standard textbook.

On the 2021 State Budget, he said, “This is a smart budget as it takes our strength to move us forward and encourage the use of new technology such as in digital economy to overcome our weakness.”

He noted that Sarawak now had a newfound yearly income from the State Sales Tax (SST) on oil and gas products and this will ease the state’s planning and budget.

“The present government understands our people’s needs and aspirations and they will not betray this trust that has been given by its people. It will bring Sarawak forward in a fair manner and create prosperity for all,” said Sim.

He said that Sarawakians could look towards the future with much optimism and hope, even during this pandemic. “When this virus is beaten, we can all move forward to a much brighter and better tomorrow.”

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