Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has reassured that it is fair to all.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the setting up of Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) was testimony to the state’s commitment to helping other religions besides Islam.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

“Therefore, let us not be distracted by events and happenings outside Sarawak that tend to divide the people,” he said in his Christmas and New Year 2020 message.

He said Sarawakians must remain united as the saying goes “united we stand, divided we fall”.

On Christmas, he said it was the time of the year again that Christians looked forward to with full of hope, a time of great rejoicing and celebration for our Christian friends.

“As always and true to the spirit of our unity in diversity, people of different religious and racial backgrounds are also sharing in the fun and joy of Christmas as a manifestation of their deep respect for the beliefs, custom and tradition of their fellow Sarawakians.”

On another note, he said while the state was implementing its macroeconomics programme, as a government that was concerned with the hardships faced by the people, the state had implemented several programmes and initiatives to help reduce the financial burden of the people, especially the disadvantaged.

Beginning Jan 1 next year, Abang Johari said the cost of up to RM5,000 for electricity connections would be borne by the state government.

“If the connection costs exceed RM5, 000 the rest will be 70 per cent off. I am confident that this initiative will enable more people to enjoy the electricity supply in their homes,” he said.

For rural areas that cannot be reached by the main grid of electricity, he said the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electricity Supply (SARES) programme had been implemented using solar power which had benefited many settlements in rural and rural Sarawak.

“The government will also cover water bills that are up to RM5, which is equivalent to 11,300 litres of water, starting Jan 1 next year, which is expected to benefit 600,000 households statewide,” he said.

Similar to the SARES initiative, he said the state government had also implemented Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (SAWAS) programme as an alternative system to provide clean water to rural people beyond the reach of the main water supply system.

“In addition, we will also provide RM450 to mothers who give birth next year to ease their financial burden when they are on maternity leave. It is hoped that this cash aid will ease the financial burden of those who need to buy necessities after delivery.”

He said the assistance was another relief for mothers besides giving RM1,000 Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS) to every child born on Jan 1 this year.

“As we embark on the journey of moving on to 2020, I urge everyone to continue to strengthen our commitment to contribute to the harmony and progress of Sarawak.

“With that I would like to wish all Christian friends, a happy and merry Christmas,” he said.