KUCHING: The state government will continue to protect the state’s culture and harmony at all cost, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Insisting that Sarawak can only be properly taken care of by its own people, he pointed out that Sarawakians are truly understanding and accepting when it comes to ‘mingling’ among the different races and religions.

“We can sit and eat together. The Malays can use chopsticks, the Chinese wear Bumiputera outfits, etc. In other places (out of Sarawak), you might actually get mocked for that,” he said.

He said this when speaking at the Sarawak Teochew Sim Clan Association (STSCA) 35th anniversary celebration dinner at the Association of Churches in Stampin here, yesterday.

On the Teochew community, Abang Johari stated that just like any Sarawakian, they had contributed a lot towards the state’s development in the field of economics, particularly trade, including building infrastructure.

He also mentioned that the state will continue to develop relations with China for the development of both countries.

“Despite the Huawei (ban) controversy, the state government will continue to collaborate with Huawei Sarawak to venture into digital economy because the latter is specialised in 5G hardware.

“That will enable the people, especially the Teochew community in the state, to link with their ancestors in China.

“Following that, we are currently on track in building our own international gateways; one with Brunei through Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST) from Miri to Brunei and Brunei to Hongkong; another one is a direct gateway from Sarawak to Hongkong.

“This will open up a lot more opportunities for us to enhance our economic relations with the world.”

Abang Johari further added that the collaboration with China, in particular the efforts of STSCA in bonding with the Teochew communities around the world, will contribute to make Sarawak a very strong state in Malaysia by the year 2030.