The 14th General Election (GE14) brought about an unprecedented change of government, which the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had admitted a number of times, might not happen.
The change of power of the Federal Government demonstrates the maturity in the democratic practices and political stability, which is the pillar of the administration and development of the nation.
The people are grateful that the process of change of leadership in the Federal Government has been smooth, peaceful and fair, which is a manifestation of the maturity of the practice of democracy in Malaysia with the people comprising different races, religions and political beliefs all subscribe to unity for peace and political stability.
The Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud in his opening speech of the First Session of the Third DUN sitting said the people in Sarawak are placing high hope in the Federal Government to continue with the development in the state. All the promises in the election manifesto in the just concluded GE14 must be carried successfully for the benefits of the ‘rakyat’.
He congratulates Dr Mahathir on his appointment as the Seventh Prime Minister, who, with his wide experience in the fields of economy, politics and economy, should be able to lead Malaysia to become a more progressive and successful nation in accordance with Vision 2020.
Taib believes that the Federal Government under the leadership of Dr Mahathir will cotninue to implement the development programs and projects in Sarawak for the progress and prosperity of the people.
He is happy that the State Government has decided to adopt a more friendly approach and work closely with the Federal Government. The co-operation between the State and Federal Government is very important to continue with the development of Sarawak regardless which political parties are in power.
He said the co-operation being offered by the State Government to the Federal Government clearly demonstrates the maturity of the political leadership in
Sarawak. The development of the state and prosperity of the people must be given a priority above political interests.
Taib believes the Federal Government will discharge its responsibility with regards to the development of Sarawak in conformity with the Federal Constitution. The sincerity of the State Government to work with the Federal Government will ensure all the development plannings will be implemented successfully.
According to him, Sarawak has a huge land surface with the population living in settlements scattered over a wide rural area throughout the state.
Hence, the road network needs to be upgraded and the coverage of water and electricity supplies need to be extended to bigger areas.
There is also the need to upgrade facilities to upgrade education and health services in order to provide quality services to the people. More importantly the task to tighten security must be given a prioprity to ensure that the people can live in peace and harmony.
The Head of State says the infrastructure projects like the Pan Borneo Highway, is very important to the socio-economic development of the, must be carried out and completed on schedule.
He hopes the development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) will be enhanced and the SCORE Plan is very important to uplift the level of the state economy to a higher level as the state moves forward to the year 2030 within the framework of agenda 2030.
He says the support of the Federal Government is also needed so that the development of the Digital Economy can be implemented successfully. This is important to reduce the digital gap between Sarawak with other areas which are more advance in Malaysia.
Taib is happy that efforts to manage the resources in an organised and efficient manner have already been carried out properly. The State Government has taken appropriate steps to manage the natural resources like oil and gas so that they can give full benefits to the people.
He believes the enforcement of the law like the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance 2916 will ensure that the sources of Oil and Gas, which are valuable to Sarawak, can be developed in a more organised and disciplined manner for the future need of the people of Sarawak.
He says the settting up of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) is very timely with efforts of the State Government to manage the development of oil and gas industry in conformity to efforts to make Sarawak to become the hub of oil and gas in this region.
Taib says the State Government has made a wise decision to work closely with PETRONAS for the interests of Malaysia as a whole and Sarawak in particular in development the oil and gas industry. In this regards, the territorial boundaries, the maritime boundary must be preserved and protected so that the natural resources like oil and gas in the territorial waters of Sarawak can be developed and managed for the benefits and prosperity of Sarawak.
Taib is happy to see efforts to protect the right and autonomy of Sarawak get the undivided support of the people, who must make conscientious efforts to strengthen unity and political stability for the bright future of Sarawak.
He is happy that the people, in spite of their diverse ethnic and religious groups, have been making continuous efforts to promote the spirit of unity and mutual respect among them. This truly manifests the maturity of the people of Sarawak.
He is confident the unity of the people can be further enhanced as the people and the Government share the common desire to focus efforts on the development of Sarawak, which is very important in facing the global challenge and fast development of information technology.
He is confident that the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Johari Tun Openg can lead Sarawak towards the rapid pace of progress and advancement. He is a responsible, credible, dynamic and a visionary leader.
Sarawak, with the undivided support of the people behind the government, has been able to register positive economic growth rising from 2.3 percent in 2016 to 4.7 percent in 2017 in the situation of the world not stable.
The Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita rose from RM44,000 in the year 2016 to RM46,000 in 2017. The export value also rose from RM77 billion in 2017 to RM96 billion in 2017.
The rate of poverty has been reduced from 0.9 percent in 2014 to 0.6 percent in 2016. The rate of unemployment has been contained at a low rate of less than 4.0 percent.
Taib, who served as the Fourth Chief Minister from March 26, 1981 to February 28, 2014, says the growth of the economy of Sarawak is supported by strong economic base, good administration and efficient financial management by the State Government. This is being proven by the good credict rating of Sarawak by credible international rating agencies.
Standard and Poor’s accords A minus with stable prospect while Moody’s Investors Service gives A3 with stable prospects to Sarawak. The investors continue to have their confidence in Sarawak as reflected in the increase in the volume of their investments in the state.
Taib is happy that the State Government has an holistic development plan, which gives him confidence with the success of that the Socio-Economic Transformation plan (SETP), Socio-Economic Transformation Plan (SETP), Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and the Digital Economic Plan.
He is also confident that the implementation of the economic plans, which are all people centric, will be able to raise the socio economic status of the ‘rakyat’ and encourage more people to invest in the development of the economy.
He commends efforts of the State Government in implementing the strategic Digital Economic Plan to encourage the application of digital technology in all aspects of economic development. The application of digital technology should be able to raise the level of productivity in the agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors in the state.
For this reason, the state cannot be left behind in the digital aspect because of the fast changes in the technology. This will affect the daily livelihood in the workplace, business and even in entertainment.
He believes the digital economy should be able to create more opportunities for the new generation, who represent the creative and innovative group, to get involved in the field of entrepreneurship. The youth should use their skills and capability to create names for themselves at the national of or international levels.
Taib believes the setting up of Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) will ensure the initiatives of the digital economy can be implemented successfully for the greater progress of Sarawak.
He is happy that SCORE has achieved success in the first phase of its development of Samalaju Industrial park with a lot of industries now operating at the industrial park.
It can still accommodate more value-added activities to be carried out from it.
He believes efforts must be ingtensified to bring more investors to other industrial estates throughout the state. This is important to create more business and employment opportunities for the people.
He is happy that the State Government has given due focus to the development of basic facilities in rural areas like access roads, which are keys to the opening up rural areas and other basic infrastructure for the supply of electricity and clean water and telecommunication to enable the people to enjoy better standard of living.
He is also happy that the State Government has made a big financial allocation for the development of basic infrastructure in rural area, which are people centric projects, as part of the overall program to transform the rural areas.
He says the state, after 55 years of independence in Malaysia, has no reason not to use the reserve that has been made over the the years, to ensure the water and electricity supplies and roads can be completed, built or restored so that the people can enjoy the facilities just like other people in Malaysia.
He observes that the process of urbanisation is being intensified that the main towns like Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu continue to attract people to get services, education, and business and employment opportunities.
In this regards, all parties, which are involved in the planning and development of towns must emphasise on ther needs of the rakyat that should include building of more affordable houses that must have sufficient recreational areas and efficient public transport system.
He believes the access to good infrastructure connectivity and modern facilities will certainly change the way of life of the people in towns, which are getting more complex.
However the people in urban areas must continue to preserve their customs and traditions and sustain the spirit of oneness and mutual respect to ensure the prosperity of the people will continue to be preserved.
Taib believes the education system must be dynamic to conform to current changes and those that will come up in future. A high value education is a contributing factor to the inclusive and balanced development of the nation. He says the quality of teaching and learning must undergo continuous upgrading and improvement by enhancing the knowledge and expertise of the people in the teaching profession.
Hence, the development of education infrastructure must be given a priority especially in rural areas, which are still having poor facilities and worse, dilapidated school buildings.
In this regards, those in the teaching profession must be more open minded and make efforts to upgrade their skills and uphold a high standard and ettiquette of the teaching profession.
Taib calls on parents to work closely with the schools to ensure the good quality of education of their children.
In this regards, the new generation are advised to focus their attention to education to ensure a bright future ahead.
He says the level of public health services in the state needs to be upgraded as the health of the people is an important pillar in national development. Hence, it is important that the people must be able to get the necessary treatment and health advice as and when needed.
The Governor calls on the government to give priority to the aspect of public safety, which is very important to ensure the development and growth of the economy.
In this connection, the level of security at the border entry points must be tightened primarily to prevent any activities or foreign elements from entering the State and disrupt its public peace and security. In this regards, all parties concerned must make continuous efforts to upgrade the level of security on all strategic assets and valueable natural resources, which must be protected so that they will not be destroyed and become a huge loss to the state.
Taib says all security agencies must be on the alert in facing any threats from criminal activities and natural disasters. The aspects of prevention and protection must be given a priority to ensure that the people can live in peace and harmony as they move forward. In this regards, the people on their part must play their roles and work with all those concerned in curbing activities and tackling issues that relate to the curbing of criminals or criminal activities.
He also believes in the need to strengthen the family institution as a pillar to build a society that cares and has feeling of mutual respect among members. This noble value must be imbibed among members at the early age as it is very important to build a united community to move forward to a more challenging future.
He believes the institution of education must also play a primary role in developing good personalities of the people to ensure that the young people must grow up to become more responsible, have interests to work and avoid indulging in unhealthy activities.
The social progress and prosperity being endowed on the people are the fruits of the attitude of being tolerant and the feeling of mutual respect among the people comprising diverse racial and religious groups and backgrounds in Sarawak. This situation has helped to produce social capital where a community of diverse racial and religious groups can work together in the development of Sarawak. The people can preserve this social prosperity for the progress and prosperity of the state.
Taib is happy that the State Government has decided that every development must reflect the sustainability of the environment, a proof that it is concerned with the protection of the environment. This is necessary in order to have a good quality of the environment that can be inherited by the new generations in future.
He appeals to relevant enforcement agencies to ensure all efforts to protect the environment must be carried out decisively. The sustainability of the environment needs the support of the people, who must work closely with the government in its protection.
He also appeals to members of the civil service to discharge their duties and responsibilities with efficiency, transparency and integrity to guarrantee the smooth implementation of development policies and strategies of the State Government.
The management of the law and finance among members of the State Civil Service must continue to enjoy a good position with regards to the performance in the managerial and financial management.
In this regards, the delivery system must be efficient and without wastage in order to confirm to the aspiration and needs of the people.
Members of the civil service should use social media as a new approach to upgrade the quality of delivery system of the civil service.
Generally, social media is believed to be effective for the government to send important message to the people and the people to the government because of its speed and wider coverage.
However, the message must be concise and factual to ensure that the right and urgent action can be taken by the Government especially on urgent issues being submitted by the people.
Taib is happy that the State Government has finalised the Mid-Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan and appealing for the development program and projects, to be completed according to schedule. This is important to ensure the development will be continuous and give benefits to the ‘rakyat’.
He says as the development of public assets like roads, school buildings, health clinics and recreational facilities involve huge investments of the government and they must be managed and maintained systematically. In this regards, the people must put into practice the culture of maintenance in looking after public assets so that they can be used properly for the benefits of the ‘rakyat’.
Taib says it is very important to raise the spirit of patriotism of the people, the youth in particular, who represent has a big population of the country as the country moves forward to attain the status of a developed nation by the year 2020. In this regards, the young people, as inheritors of the Nation, must equip themselves with knowledge and skills of the current technology in order to excel in politics, economy and social, which can be expected to be more challenging in future.
He believes the command of modern technology is very important in the world without borders in the digital era. They can compete for opportunities being offered through the usage of technology and create wealth through creativity and innovation.
He appeals to young people to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills of science and technology so that they can command and compete in the era of digital economy.
The Governor believes the young people must have the high ambition to succeed in whatever they do to build themselves up. They must be diligent and focused in their efforts inj order to produce good results for themselves, family and the country.
He says Sarawak day on July 22, 1963 should be observed to commomorate the day that Sarawak was granted the internal self-government by the Britisih Colonial Government.
The ‘rakyat’ must understand and value the true meaning of this Independence.
He says the success being enjoyed now is the fruit of efforts of the past leaders in the struggle for independence and in preparing for the basic formation of political power for Sarawak.
He said the people, the new generation in particular must know the sacrifices of the past leaders in bringing the people together and laying a strong foundation for the implementation of development in building the state as a partner in the formation of Malaysia.
He reminds DUN members, as elected representatives of the people, to endeavor to give excellent services to their respective constituencies.
They must also contribute ideas and meaningful suggestions to assist the government in formulating more strategic policies that can help to raise the level of development and prosperity of the state.
They should debate in the environment full of decorum, politeness and friendliness during this sitting.
The formation of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) by leaders in the State Government is in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Sarawak. The GPS will provide a stable platform to the State Government in fighting for the rights and autonomy of Sarawak.
Ultimately, GPS should aim to become a strong and viable coalition of political parties that can bring the people to become more united for greater prosperity and progress of the state.
The GPS will become an important platform in protecting the Rights and Interests of Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution. In this connection, the Federal Government should work in all sincerity with the State Government to achieve the desired objective.