‘Sarawak new captain has made his mark’

STANDING AS ONE: Abang Johari, with Fadillah on his left, clicks on the computer tablet to mark the official opening of PBB Zone 1 delegates meeting in Kuching in this photo taken on Dec 2 last year. Looking on, from left, are Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Adenan’s widow Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu who is Tanjong Datu assemblywoman and Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has been carrying out his duties as the new team captain of ‘Team Adenan’ with excellence, says Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

“Whatever policies of late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, he (Abang Johari) makes sure that the implementation would be smooth. Secondly, he (Abang Johari) has also made some improvements on policies, especially on digital economy,” says Fadillah, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Youth chief.

One thing for sure is that Abang Johari is continuing the negotiation with the federal government on greater autonomy for Sarawak under the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“I see that he has achieved so many things, especially with regard to MA63. And from that, God-willing, Sarawak would be a better state in the future – to be one of the most successful states (in Malaysia) under his leadership.”

Fadillah, who is also Petra Jaya MP, assures all that Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) will continue to support Abang Johari towards making Sarawak a better place for everyone.

LANDMARK MOVE: Abang Johari (left) and Dr Rundi during a press conference on the takeover of Bakun dam on March 8 last year in Kuching.

Meanwhile Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, who is also BN Sarawak secretary-general, is optimistic that Abang Johari would be able to achieve more in reclaiming greater autonomy for Sarawak through continuous negotiations with the federal government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“We, in the cabinet, will continue to support him on MA63 because now we are not discussing not just based on hearsay, but on facts. As such, we need to iron out matters pertaining to the so-called ‘eroded rights’ with the facts that we have.

“We are not going to confront the federal government, but to tell them what had been agreed upon on MA63, and what has been eroded – whether it was consciously or unconsciously done through Parliament, but not through DUN (Sarawak State Legislative Assembly). So that’s why we need to continue to discuss on that,” he says.

On whether Sarawak would prefer Najib or former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to negotiate with on MA63, Dr Rundi responds: “Definitely, it’s Datuk Seri Najib as he has been very open to our proposals and discussions.

“He has been very proactive and he even said it in Kota Kinabalu and also in Kuching, that whatever rights of Sarawak based on MA63, he’s willing to listen. He agreed that these right must be given back to Sarawak and Sabah based on the constitution.”

On his ministry’s point of view, Dr Rundi says Abang Johari has entrusted him to solve water problems and also those on extension of electricity supply to the rural areas.

“He (Abang Johari) has introduced many policies such as digital economy, which is good for our young people to be involved in the economic development of the state. And during his walkabouts and visits to the ground, he also approved projects which would be implemented this year.

“His planning and vision are easy for us to follow,” adds Dr Rundi.

Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Khui Hian sees Abang Johari as not only continuing Adenan’s policy on Sarawak’s rights, which include financial autonomy, but having a clear mission on how to leapfrog Sarawak into digital economy both for the urban and rural areas – the latter, specifically under Agriculture 4.0.

“On top of that, he also established Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) and innovation centres. He was instrumental in making sure that Sarawak would, 100 per cent, own Bakun dam — these are not mere talks; they’re the beginning of an impactful foundation,” says Dr Sim.

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