Digital economy agenda first on the list as 2021 dawns on Sarawak, says Abang Johari in New Year’s message
Posted on : 31 Dec 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING: Despite facing challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarawak was able to remain vigilant in keeping the disease under control, at the same time strengthening its digital economy agenda, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In his recorded speech during the Sarawak New Year Countdown 2021 event at Stadium Perpaduan here on Thursday, Abang Johari said prior to the pandemic, Sarawak had already put into motion plans to develop and utilise digital economy as one of its mainstream economic activities.

“With the movement controls, we found that the supply chain has become more diversified and streamlined, and the digital economy including e-commerce, cashless payments and non-physical delivery has become a mainstream economy,” he said.

He said looking at the state’s development since 2018, he said the state government had restructured the state economy through several approaches, which included the establishment of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBoS), Petroleum Sarawak (Petros), and heavily invested in infrastructure projects such as the coastal highway and bridges spanning across it, and supplying electricity and water supply to the rural areas.

“This has greatly impacted the rural areas all the way to Ulu Kapit after the completion of the Sibu-Kapit road.

“The rural areas of Baram also saw positive impact from the various infrastructure development projects there through the Highland Development Agency (HDA).

“In 2019, we also started to impose the Sarawak Sales Tax to all of our petroleum products, despite having to go through court. This has given additional revenue to Sarawak in 2019 and 2020, and the following years to come,” he said.

On top of that, Abang Johari said, the state’s digital economy policy has also provided a solution to Sarawak’s communications network including cashless transactions through the state’s very own SarawakPay.

“Stepping into 2021 will take Sarawak closer to achieving high income state status by the year 2030.

“Our economic fundamentals are strong and our financial position enhanced, and a lot of Sarawakians have returned, working in the petrochem industry, Sarawak Metro, SMA (Sarawak Multimedia Authority), to mention a few, and I expect more will come back when our economy achieves positive transformation towards a modern economy in the next ten years,” said Abang Johari.

With that in mind, Abang Johari called Sarawakians to remain united for a stable government to ensure that all that has been planned for Sarawak will materialise and benefit all Sarawakians.

“I, therefore, sincerely hope that Sarawakians will not gamble their future. We need united Sarawakians and a very strong and stable government which will benefit all Sarawakians.

“With our united effort and perseverance amid post Covid-19, God willing Sarawak will enter a new era towards 2030 beginning with 2021,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari acknowledged the sacrifices of the frontliners in Sarawak in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping it under control.

He also acknowledged the effectiveness of the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) in dealing with the pandemic in the state, ensuring that the Covid-19 infection does not go out of control.

“We cannot deny that the Covid-19 has caused anxiety and tension all over the world. Many lives were lost due to the disease, and it had affected the economy in terms of demand, production, investments and income.

“Nonetheless Sarawak has proven its ability in keeping the disease under control, and I am proud of our SDMC which has worked very hard to ensure all Sarawakians are protected from the Covid-19 disease,” he said.

Abang Johari recorded his appreciation to all frontliners who had put their lives on the line and sacrificed their time and effort to protect all Sarawakians.

“You are our heroes. May you always be protected, and be given strength and enthusiasm in carrying out your duties.

“For the rest of Sarawakians, I thank you for your cooperation and sacrifices to break the chain of Covid-19 infection but complying with the directive from SDMC. So long as Covid-19 is still out there, we must adopt and practice the new norm,” he said.

Abang Johari also hoped that for the year 2021, Sarawak with its community of diverse ethnicity, race, religions and cultures, would continue to remain peaceful and harmonious.