KUCHING: Sarawak is committed to preserving 80 per cent of its land mass as primary and secondary forests for environmental conservation.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who stated this, said the state is doing its level best to contribute to preservation of the environment.
“Sarawak is a small state but it has its obligation in its role to preserve the environment. We make sure that 80 per cent of our land mass must be covered by primary and secondary forests,” he said when launching the inaugural Sarawak Dialogue at a hotel here yesterday.
In addition, Abang Johari said the state government has decided to open land for industrial forest, which involves plantation of trees to provide raw materials for Sarawak’s timber industry.
He believed that such a move would keep the state’s timber industry going, while playing a part in sustaining the natural environment.
He said preservation of the environment is one of the four key issues Sarawak will be focusing on as it pursues its development agenda. He identified the other three issues as climate change, digital economy and measures to be taken to transform Sarawak.
According to him, Sarawak is playing its role to maintain the climate given that the trees it has are providing a lot of oxygen for the world.
“We do not even claim the credit for this. The rest of the world is enjoying when we are providing free of charge,” he pointed out.
Abang Johari laid out three prerequisites for Sarawak to move its agriculture sector forward.
He said roads must be constructed to connect the people physically on top of implementing a State Water Grid to provide every Sarawakian with constant water supply and enhance cyber connectivity.
He added that people could stay connected to the world once high speed Internet infrastructure is put in place across the state.
“Not only will you be connected to the world but you can also sell your produce worldwide.”
He said Sarawak is also committed to ‘giving the right training to the people’ even though education remains on the federal list.
He added that the education system must match change whilst Sarawak will continue to place emphasis on the learning of both Bahasa Malaysia and English.
“We preserve the two languages as our official languages, and our people are also learning Mandarin because China is a giant economy of the world. I’m not sure if the US is still number one because China has the culture of not claiming (to be) number one.
“I have this experience with Chinese businessmen – when you ask them how they are doing (in their business), they will tell you ‘enough to eat’. In this respect, I’m not sure if China is number two but they let the U.S be number one, never mind,” he said.
Abang Johari asserted that Sarawak aims very high despite the fact that it is a ‘small state’ in Malaysia.
“We want to share our resources with the world. We hope that Sarawak can become a bridge to the world so as to lead to a new beginning,” he added.
Among those present were State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, keynote speaker Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, who is group chief executive officer of AirAsia Berhad, and organising chairman Adrain Jerome.