KUCHING (Oct 14): Sarawak is the first state in Malaysia to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme for adolescents aged between 12 and 17, with more than 90 per cent of its adult population having been fully vaccinated, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The Chief Minister said the fast rollout of the vaccination programme is the key success for Sarawak to open up most of its economic sectors.
“Enforcement of Movement Control Order (MCO), implementation of Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) packages 1.0 to 7.0 and the immunisation programme are complementary to each other in tackling the pandemic.
“The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and disruptions in the global supply chain has resulted in the slowdown of our overall economic growth,” he said before handing out the BKSS 7.0 special one-off financial assistance of RM10,000 for active small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak today.
Abang Johari said the world is currently facing an invisible enemy – Covid-19 – which has become more aggressive with the emergence of new variants.
He pointed out that Sarawak’s biggest challenge in dealing with this crisis was to balance its financial resources with the needs to save lives and protect livelihood of the people, economic sectors and businesses as well as to safeguard the interests of its present and future generations.
He said this was why Sarawak developed preventive measures with tight Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to protect lives whilst ensuring its economy continue to grow in spite of the pandemic.
“We have implemented seven packages namely BKSS 1.0 to 7.0, with 30 programmes and initiatives amounting RM5.3 billion to ensure every Sarawakian is protected, to support our business community and to revive our economy despite Covid-19.
“This is one of the largest assistances provided by a state government in Malaysia. Only we are able to do it,” he added.
With Sarawak under Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan, Abang Johari said the state government foresee greater opportunities for improvement in the state’s economy as most of the businesses begin to operate with updated SOPs by the State Disaster Management Committee.
He reminded all that the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030), launched on July 22, is a long-term plan that details the direction and development strategy of Sarawak for the next 10 years.
“Sarawak aspires to be a thriving society driven by data and innovation where everyone enjoys economic prosperity, social inclusivity and sustainable environment by 2030.”
He said the state government is now actively strategising the Action Implementation Plan for PCDS 2030.
He expressed confidence that with this transformation, Sarawak will be able to grow its economy at an average rate of six to eight per cent per year.
“In this respect, we aspire that SMEs will be able to contribute 30 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by 2030. The government will continue to develop entrepreneurship as a strategy to create equitable wealth through promoting a socially inclusive community.
“Hence, we will continue to enhance local industry eco-systems to empower and grow our SMEs,” he added.