KUCHING, July 28 ― Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today asked Sarawakians to proudly display their patriotic and nationalist spirit by flying the national flag, Jalur Gemilang, during the National Month campaign.
“We should fly the flag at our business premises, housing estates, villages, longhouses and vehicles,” he said at the launch of the state-level National Month and Fly Jalur Gemilang 2020 Campaign at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Complex in Petrajaya here.
The campaign, with the theme “Sarawak Maju Dalam Malaysia”, was organised by the state Information Department.
The chief minister also expressed his confidence that the injection of funds for infrastructure, industrial and economic programmes will help to raise the level of household income in the state over the next 10 years.
He said when these programmes have been completed, Sarawak will no longer be described as rich in resources, but the people are poor.
He stressed Sarawak is among the biggest contributors to the gross domestic product at 10 per cent.
“In 2019, the state contributed an estimated RM136.05 billion with a per capita income of RM53,317,” he said.
“The statistics appeared to be something that we should be proud of, but in reality, the average household income in Sarawak is still low at RM5,218 in 2019,” the chief minister said.
He added the oil and gas from the state is the biggest contributor to the national revenue but does not provide sufficient job opportunities to Sarawakians.
“The state needs to study the weaknesses thoroughly and to take steps to correct the imbalance.
“Therefore, among our concentration in the post-Covid-19 economic agenda is to develop our petrochemical industry in its hub in Tanjung Kidurong in Bintulu,”he said.
He said a 1,000-hectare site as been allocated for the hub for the construction of a state-owned RM3.74 billion methanol plant.
He added construction work on the plant is on-going.
“It is the view of the state government that Sarawak will have to look on what it really needs, especially in terms of infrastructure development which is very important as catalyst for economic growth,” he said.
He said preparations for the physical and non-physical connectivity have been intensified over the last two years and will continue under the 12th Malaysia Plan until 2030.
He added the construction of the Pan Borneo Highyway by the federal government and the constriction of the coastal highway and the second trunk road by the state government at a total cost of RM11 billion is aimed at generating the growth of the state economy.
The chief minister said the state government is also implementing infrastructures and amenities in the Upper Rejang Development Agency in the central region, Highland Development Agency in Baram region dan Northern Region Development Agency in Limbang-Lawas region, with a total cost of RM4.5 billion.
On the Internet penetration, he admitted that it is difficult to receive signals, especially in the rural areas due to the mountainous nature of the state.
He said the state government is making efforts to build telecommunication towers, adding that 170 towers have already been erected but do not have agreements with internet service providers yet.
He said the state government, through the Sarawak Multimedia Authority, will do whatever it can to ensure the towers are equipped with ISP programmes.