Saturday, March 25

SIDC setup in collaboration with reputable research centres – Abang Johari


Abang Johari (center) arriving the Sarawak Day celebration venue, also seen is Masing (right, behind). – Photo courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas).

KUCHING (July 22): The setting up of the proposed Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) in Kota Samarahan would be in collaborating with reputable research centres and universities to enhance the research culture in Sarawak, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

He said that the RM200 million SIDC has initiated Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the Australian National Phenome Centre, Perth, Amili Pte Ltd (Singapore), Cambridge Sparks, UNIMAS and Swinburne Sarawak to collaborate in the areas of biomedical sciences and Human Capital Development.

These would add to the current existing list of collaborators which included the Cambridge Academic of Therapeutic Sciences, University of Cambridge.

He added that the setting up of SIDC would be a long term step for the state government in terms of research and development to ensure the state economy’s success in the future.

“In future, we will explore engagement with universities such as the University of Oxford, perhaps to develop programmes to harness our rich biodiversity.

“I believe that these initiatives will help to pave the way to enhance the research culture in Sarawak, leading to a vibrant bioeconomy, capitalizing on our diverse cultures, and natural resources,” he said.

Abang Johari was speaking at the Sarawak Day celebration held at the state legislative assembly building tonight.

Similarly, Abang Johari said, under the Malaysia constitution, public health matter was a joint responsibility between the state and federal government, thus the state government was responsible to increase public awareness on contagious diseases and taking steps to control infection diseases.

Speaking on the current Covid-19 pandemic, Abang Johari said it was an important test which gave Sarawak confidence to face any obstacles thrown in its way to ensure the state would always be at the forefront.

“During the pandemic for the past one year or so, we have often made decisions that are more suited to the conditions and situation in Sarawak. We respect the federal government and decisions made at the federal level but not every decision made in Putrajaya is suitable or practical for implementation in Sarawak.

“One example is the modification on the vaccination process for folks in rural areas by giving them the vaccination first, then registering them on MySejahtera as the state government understood how hard it is for them to register and access MySejahtera,” he said.

While facing the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the state government believed that speeding up vaccination to the people is a longterm measure compared to enforcing enhanced movement control order (EMCO) which is short term and does not have long lasting effect.

“Alhamdullilah, the vaccination programme has received support from everyone, with over 70 per cent of the population has received the first dose, and over 40 per cent has received the second dose,” said Abang Johari.

Meanwhile, on the Sarawak Day celebration, he said it was held on a smaller scale as last year due to the pandemic, but did not dampen the spirit of Sarawakians to commemorate this important date in Sarawak history.

He added that the date marked the date Sarawak self-ruled after over 100 years under British rule, starting from the Brooke family.

“We deeply appreciate and thankful to the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem who declared July 22 as Sarawak Day and public holiday on this important date. I hope that July 22 will continue to be the starting point to strengthen unity, harmony and culture of respecting one another in the multiracial, multi-religious state of Sarawak,” he said.

He added that though the state has achieved many things, more needs to be done to fulfill its dream for all Sarawakians to be a progressive state and its people earning high incomes.

“I am confident that we can achieve our dream by 2030 if we all work hard and focus fully on having progressive economy in nine years, following our own mold,” said Abang Johari.

Meanwhile, minister-in-charge of the celebration, Dato Sri Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian said the celebration reminded Sarawakians of the immense contributions and struggles of our previous leaders to enable Sarawak to be administered by its own people.

Dr Sim, who is also Local Government and Housing Minister, said that this year’s celebration was more meaningful as after one year of disruption, hardship and suffering, it showed the best spirit of Sarawak solidarity in saving lives, livelihoods and the success of the state’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“There are a number of cultural performances, songs and video presentations through the hybrid with some digital recordings and others in person to make it an interesting show, a new norm living with the virus.

“What is important is that we have high creativity, co-operation and commitment from all anak Sarawak talents locally and overseas to ensure all Sarawakian can enjoy the celebration at the comfort of their homes.

“This spirit of patriotism is what we need for the sake of our beloved Bumi Kenyalang and Covid-19 gives us opportunity to bring all Sarawakian together as a nation. This call is very much in line with the theme of this year’s celebration, which is ‘Sarawak Gemilang Untuk Semua’,” he said.

Dr Sim also called on Sarawkians to continue to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government for own safety and security.

Present were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, and other cabinet ministers.