Let's strengthen our unity and live in harmony, says Abang Johari

SIBU: Everyone must refrain from dwelling on and promoting racial and religious issues that would undermine unity and harmony, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (pic).

The Sarawak Chief Minister in his Christmas and New Year 2021 message invited the people to strengthen their commitment in contributing to the harmony and development of the state in whatever capacity and role that they could play.

"The future is bright for Sarawak as long as we do not squander it.

The GPS government strives to be inclusive as no one should be left behind. We must work together to develop Sarawak into a digitalised economy, leveraging on our rich natural resources and human talent," he said.

On the Christmas celebration, he said it is a bit sad that Christians would not be able to celebrate it as they used to due to restrictions during this time of Covid-19.

"This time around you may not be able to have full services in churches, organise Christmas parade, or visit friends and relatives on Christmas day all because of the need to restrict our movement to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection," he said.

Datuk Abang Johari said the single digit cases in the state was due to the hard work of the state disaster management committee (SDMC), the dedication of frontline personnel and the cooperation of the people.

"Our social and religious institutions, particularly churches, have been very cooperative by observing the SOPs and I sincerely hope that we will continue to abide by the SOPs so that we stop the chain of infection," he said.

With travel restrictions imposed, he was aware that some who are staying outside Sarawak now, may not be able to return to their hometowns, longhouses or villages for fear this will cause another spike in infections.

The Chief Minister said Covid-19 has caused extensive damage to the state's economy, especially the tourism industry.

"Many businesses, big and small, have to struggle to stay afloat, and workers who are laid off have to find other ways to put food on the table for their families.

"The state government has tried its best to help those affected through the various assistance under BKSS 1.0,2.0 and 3.0 involving a total fund allocation of RM2.6bil. This is the second biggest total value of assistance from any state government besides the assistance from the Federal Government," he said.

Despite the dire consequences of the pandemic, he said he is highly confident that Sarawak can still be on track to achieve a developed and high-income status by 2030.

"Our economic fundamentals are strong, our policies structured and realigned after Covid-19, while our political stability is the envy of others," he said.

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