Speeches
Chinese New Year 2021 Message
Deliver on 08 Mar 2021

Click here for Chinese New Year Message 2021 pdf files.

 

 

PERUTUSAN TAHUN BAHARU CINA 2021

YANG AMAT BERHORMAT

DATUK PATINGGI (DR) ABANG HAJI

ABDUL RAHMAN ZOHARI

BIN TUN DATUK ABANG HAJI OPENG

KETUA MENTERI SARAWAK

 

Salam sejahtera, Salam Sarawakku Sayang. Bagi pihak saya sendiri, isteri dan serta keluarga saya ingin mengucapkan Gong Xi Fa Cai kepada seluruh Anak Sarawak daripada kaum Cina di mana sahaja saudara dan saudari berada ketika menyambut perayaan Tahun Baharu Cina pada tahun ini. 

Walaupun suasana pada tahun ini tidak mengizinkan saudara dan saudari bersuka ria seperti selalunya disebabkan oleh pandemik COVID-19, saya amat berharap tradisi menyambut tahun baharu bagi kaum Cina tetap mempunyai signifikannya mengikut kepercayaan kaum Cina.

Dear friends,

I wish all our Chinese friends a happy Lunar New Year and may the Year of the Ox bring us prosperity, unity, good health and deliverance from the Corona virus pandemic to our beloved Land of the Hornbills. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, the previous year has been a very hard year for all of us in the whole country, and the rest of the world. The pandemic seems to be not relenting for now with the fourth wave even more vicious than the previous spikes in infection. We cannot afford to be complacent and make mistakes as the current jump in number of cases, particularly in Sibu, had shown that one single source of infection can cause more than a thousand others to be further infected all over the State.  We also have to be honest in providing information to the authorities, as inaccurate information may cause unnecessary infection to others.

As we all know, the current spike in infection affecting the whole country has prompted the federal government to impose the Emergency and reimpose the Movement Control Order (MCO) for the whole country, except for Sarawak.
 
In Sarawak the MCO is only imposed in Sibu, the epicentre of the current increase in infection, and now Kapit and Song included, while the rest of the State is under Conditional MCO as the conditions are not as bad as that in central Sarawak to enable life to go on while adhering closely to the SOPs and complying with the restrictions.

Undeniably, the pandemic has caused tremendous hardship to our society as people lost their jobs and businesses have to downsize or even closed. The government is well aware of the people’s predicament and the state government has provided various categories of assistance through BKSS 1.0 until BKSS 5.0 to lighten the burden of the people, the business and trading community. A total sum of RM3.0 billion in the forms of cash, subsidies, deferment of payments and loans have been given out under the five BKSS.
 
We are lucky as Sarawakians are able to receive assistance both from the state and federal government. For example, many of you received cash assistance under the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) and also receive similar cash assistance under BKSS. At the same time, consumers in Sarawak are given deductions in their electricity bills, again both from the State and Federal governments at 23% and 2% respectively. I believe people in other states do not enjoy this privilege of receiving dual assistance - only in Sarawak. The electricity, and also water bill deduction will continue until June this year under BKSS 5.0.  incurring the government a total of RM198 million.  


Outside of the BKSS assistance, the State Government has already spent more than RM75 million to pay for the cost of quarantine in hotels for returning Sarawakians in order to protect the people of Sarawak from imported infections. Again, no other state is doing the same for its people, and also, that is the amount of money the state government is pumping back into the hotel industry to keep it afloat.

With strong savings and increased streams of revenue, the state government is able to provide the BKSS assistance during this difficult time, but government resources are not unlimited. We must maintain our financial prudence and continue to manage efficiently while at the same time invest especially in the provision of infrastructures and strategic projects.

Sarawak is also lucky as we have the power to make our own decision to suit our local conditions and not necessarily following the decision of the federal government every time which may not be in our best interest. We are able to decide for ourselves not to impose the MCO, except for Sibu, Kapit and Song to ensure that life can go on and businesses can continue to operate in order to keep people in employment. We cannot continue to close our economy but somehow, we have to find ways to get it going. The State Government is implementing this policy as we have the autonomous right as enshrined in the Ninth Schedule Clause (7) of the Concurrent List.

In spite of all the challenges, I am happy to tell you that our economic fundamentals are strong. Our numerous infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges are able to proceed, including the Pan Borneo Highway, that has kept the economic engine moving though its tough going because of the shortage of workers. The State Government has set up a special committee to look into this problem of shortage of workers and I am hopeful that it can be solved to ensure that the various projects can be implemented without much delay.

Dear friends,

We need to continue with our efforts to keep the corona virus infection rate down again, and hopefully with the coming of the vaccine the situation can be better towards the second half of the year. Meanwhile, we just need to abide by the SOPs and co-operate with our frontliners and enforcement authorities so that the current three-digit daily infection can be brought down to just single digit, or even zero infection.
 
We can never thank our frontliners enough for the tremendous work pressure that they have to bear with in order to keep the rest of us free from infection. They have sacrificed their own personal comfort and are kept away from their families, and some in the course of discharging their duties, are infected themselves. We pray for them that the Almighty will always protect them and their families.

Saudara dan saudari sekalian,

Dalam suasana perayaan Tahun Baharu Cina yang telah diraikan turun-temurun oleh masyarakat cina, kaum-kaum lain harus merenung sejenak bagaimana masyarakat Cina begitu mementingkan pendidikan untuk anak-anak mereka. Di mana sahaja ada penempatan kaum Cina, di situ juga adalah sekolah. Sebagai sebuah kerajaan bersifat inklusif, Kerajaan GPS meneruskan bantuan tahunan kepada 14 buah sekolah menengah persendirian Cina di seluruh Sarawak.

Sistem pendidikan sekolah persendirian Cina sedia ada, yang juga melibatkan ramai pelajar bukan Cina, tidak harus diabaikan kerana ia juga menyumbang kepada pembangunan sumber manusia negeri ini lebih-lebih lagi dalam konteks ekonomi serantau yang didahului oleh ekonomi negara China.

Baru-baru ini saya telah menyerahkan geran Kerajaan Negeri sebanyak RM10 juta untuk tujuan tersebut, dan sebagai menyambung usaha yang telah dimulakan oleh Allahyarham Pehin Sri Adenan Haji Satem. Selain itu, Kerajaan Negeri juga memberi bantuan kepada sekolah-sekolah rendah Cina dimana sehingga 60 peratus pelajarnya adalah kaum Bumiputera.

Saudara dan saudari yang saya hormati,
 
Pilihanraya Negeri seharusnya diadakan selewatnya-lewatnya pada awal bulan Ogos. Namun, pengisytiharan Darurat untuk seluruh negara oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong telah menidakkan kemungkinan akan diadakan pilihan raya bagi Negeri Sarawak. Pilihanraya Negeri telah dirancang untuk diadakan pada tahun lepas, namun kita memilih untuk menangguhkannya memandangkan keadaan tidak mengizinkan. Kesihatan dan kesejahteraan rakyat kita menjadi keutamaan Kerajaan GPS pimpinan saya. Walau bagaimanapun, Kerajaan GPS menaruh penuh kepercayaan kepada kebijaksanaan Yang di-Pertuan Agong supaya pilihanraya negeri boleh diadakan mengikut lunas-lunas Perlembangaan Negeri tanpa menjejaskan keselamatan rakyat.

Sebagai penutup, saya menyeru kepada saudara dan saudari untuk terus berusaha ke arah memperkukuhkan perpaduan dalam kalangan kita yang mempunyai pelbagai agama, bangsa dan budaya di Bumi Kenyalang yang tercinta ini. Kita tidak dapat kunjung mengunjung seperti biasa tetapi ini tidak menghalang kita untuk terus mengeratkan tali silatulrahim antara kita dengan memperkukuhkan semangat saling hormat menghormati antara satu sama lain.
 
Akhir kata, sekali lagi saya mengucapkan Selamat Tahun Baharu Cina 2021 dan semoga kita beroleh kesejahteraan dan dikurniakan dengan kesihatan yang baik. Saya bagi pihak keluarga sekali lagi mengucapakan Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Sekian. Terima kasih.

Speeches By: YAB DATUK PATINGGI (DR) ABANG HAJI ABDUL RAHMAN ZOHARI BIN TUN DATUK ABANG HAJI OPENG