Abang Johari shakes hands with a dinner attendee at the Chinese New Year and 41st Anniversary of the Federation of Chinese Associations for Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division dinner. Also seen is Federation's presiding chairman and president Datuk Richard Wee (second left).

State mulls helping Beijing tackle Covid-19

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will look into how it could help China to deal with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) epidemic. 

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said he would bring up the matter to the state Cabinet. 

“We are saddened by those affected by this epidemic. We pray that it would end soon throughout the world. I heard on CGTN (China Global Television Network) that China had achieved some success in controlling the virus. 

“This issue is not a concern of China alone, but all humanity. And we are thankful to the Chinese government for being transparent on the matter,” he said during the Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division’s 41st anniversary and Chinese New Year dinner at Imperial Hotel last Sunday evening. 

He said with strong Sarawak-China ties, it is time for Sarawak to lend a helping hand.
So far, the Covid-19 has affected the economy especially the tourism sector. All governments in the world are facing this challenge. 
“But for Sarawak, we are lucky because we are injecting billions of ringgit into our economy through infrastructure development. 

“Infrastructure development has supply chains of materials needed to construct roads and bridges, supplies of water, and power generation/ distribution.

Abang Johari shakes hands with a dinner attendee at the Chinese New Year and 41st Anniversary of the Federation of Chinese Associations for Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division dinner. Also seen is Federation’s presiding chairman and president Datuk Richard Wee (second left).

“The substantial amount of money will assist our economy despite the impact of the virus,” he said. 

Abang Johari said he expected the state’s economy to grow five to six per cent mainly boosted by infrastructure development. 

“In other words, we are not very much affected by this virus considering that the tourism industry is not a really big contributor to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

“But the construction sector and export contribute a lot to our GDP growth. Therefore, I think we can still predict that our GDP growth would be five to six per cent this year,” he said. 

He then said due to the state’s strong unity and peace, it is able to plan the economy that will benefit the people. 

“Bank Negara Malaysia said that Malaysia’s GDP growth was only 3.6 per cent (in the fourth quarter of 2019), the lowest since 2009. 

“That is more of a problem on the federal side. Of course, it will affect us, but we can strengthen our economy by boosting the construction sector,” he said.