LONG SAN, Ulu Baram: The people of Sarawak are very fortunate to have a government that is focused on development, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“When you elect a government, that government must have long-term plan and their job is to deliver whatever development the people want.
“We in the state government, although Tok Nan (late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) is no longer with us, we continue with his efforts for developments we should give to the people in urban and rural areas,” he said.
Abang Johari said the state government emphasised rural development “because when you mention about poverty there is no such thing as absolute poverty because it has to do with assets.
“Our rural people have assets, at least their kampung land. What they need is to increase production and make use of their asset.
“Because we have wealth, we should value it, and if we want to add value there is no other way than through education. The moment you have the knowledge we can use the knowledge to increase our income,” he said.
Abang Johari said this when officiating at the launching ceremony of Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) infrastructure at SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau here.
He said in terms of education, the teaching of STEM (science, technology, mathematics and science) and English language is important and because of that the state government is focusing on the teaching.
“This is very important for our children in the rural areas and I as the chief minister emphasise on education and that is why now we want to use English for us to study mathematics and science subjects,” he said, adding that Sarawak is the first state in Malaysia that accepts the
usage of English as teaching language for Science and Mathematics.
Abang Johari disclosed that not long ago, he visited the school to look at the performance of its students.
“We put focus on infrastructure development including education in Baram,” he said, adding that he had also visited Long Lama to launch the Long Lama bridge.
Abang Johari said that the Wifi infrastructure is a new development by the state government for the rural areas and is confident that it will bring about lots of benefit to the students.
“We once had a CSR programme with a company at Silicon Valley on education through the Internet, and our children at that time already knew what a tablet is.
“Hence, the organiser and I wanted to boost the Internet speed here,” he said.
“At first we wanted to use what people call the Google balloon satellite. But it looks like it cannot be implemented as it is a new thing but I have decided to seek other alternatives for satellite communication.
“That is why I asked the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to upgrade the Internet speed in Long San areas. Initially we faced problem regarding electricity supply, and we managed to resolve it and connect it with satellite devices not using the balloons but a powerful wireless connection,” said Abang Johari, who was glad to launch the 10mbps internet specially for SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau as it allows the students to communicate with the outside world.
“So this is the infrastructure that we have provided to our children who study in Long San. For the community of Long San we will upgrade Internet to 30mbps that is powerful and fast.
“This is what we are implementing in Long San, and will expand it to other areas and what we need is to build towers to connect with one another with fast speed,” he said.
Abang Johari said when implementing digital economy, the first thing that he formed was the Sarawak Multimedia Authority.
“We use our own method that is through special fund we provide to SMA. This year we provided RM1 billion and God willing we will increase the sum next year for us to build more towers in our rural areas.
“This will allow our areas to be connected, our children can study better and the community can enjoy the online connectivity.”
Abang Johari said the state government has built telecommunication towers in the rural areas including in Betong, launched Internet CSR in Kapit, launched communication line between Sarawak Pay and Bank Simpanan Nasional at Sebauh, Bintulu and Digital Lawas in Ulu Lawas on digital connectivity.
He said this is a new way for the state government to develop digital networking in rural areas and it is a long term programme.
“I can assure you that as long as we are in the government, with farsighted vision, we will do it throughout Sarawak.
“This is our vision and Internet digital economy is something which is new and not all states have it but Sarawak is the model for the other states.
“People in Peninsula want to learn from us and want to know how we do it, and I tell them that we are not that stupid, we also can do on our own. That is why it is very important that the state government has vision and our ways must be the latest,” he added.
Abang Johari also said that education is very important.
“Politics aside, transforming society must be through education. Only education can transform our society.”
Abang Johari also commended SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau, Long San for its contribution in transforming the rural areas.
“What more to say this school bears the name of the late Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau who was a good friend of my father and the first time I met him was when I was about four or five years old.
“The late Temenggong stayed in our house as they were comrades including Apai Jugah (Tun Jugah). So it is an honour for me as son to his friend to come to this school, at least I come to his birthplace and at least I can contribute to development of education in Baram.”
He said besides the Internet infrastructure, the state government also helps the rest of the rural population through various development projects including the newly launched bridge in Long Lama.
“We are also implementing the road project from Marudi to Long Terawan which will take time.
“Please bear with us, I do not have the Aladdin lamp, it takes time. What I can tell you is I got the money to be given back to our people,” he said.
He revealed that SMA will build another two telco towers in Long San areas next year.
“This will connect the whole area in Long San and this is what we are doing.
“What is important is that we are united in our vision and efforts meant for the next generations. What we want is to live in a peaceful place and our children are highly educated to continue our development efforts. I hope you all gain benefit from this connectivity and will continue to live harmoniously together and our children’s future will be bright,” he added.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, Baram MP Anyi Ngau, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, State Education Department director Dr Azhar Ahmad, Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) general manager Dr Zaidi Razak, Long San community leader Lucia Paya Kalang, Temenggong Elizabeth Deng and Temenggong Joseph Ngau Lian.