KUCHING: The Gawai Dayak celebration is an opportunity for Sarawak's Dayak communities to strengthen unity among themselves and with all other races, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah (pic).
The Sarawak Deputy Premier said a proven way to do this is to celebrate communal festivities together, including Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Gawai and Christmas.
"Let us continue our tradition of 'ngabang' or visiting each other's open houses to spread goodwill, harmony and unity," he said in his Gawai message on Wednesday (May 31).
Gawai, the harvest festival celebrated by the Dayaks, falls on June 1-2.
Uggah said Sarawak had achieved rapid development because of political stability and racial harmony among its diverse ethnicities.
He also said Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg was a leader of all races and religions, as reflected in his policy of inclusivity.
"Social inclusivity is one of the pillars of the state's post-Covid-19 development strategy.
"This is to ensure that no one or any community will be left out from enjoying the fruits of development," he said.
For example, he said the state government provided assistance to non-Islamic religions and houses of worship with an allocation of RM100mil to the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) this year.
Uggah, who is also state Infrastructure and Port Development Minister, said Sarawak could look forward to a better road network system by 2025.
He said the state government was implementing the second trunk road and coastal highway project at a total cost of RM11bil.
"The package includes 11 bridges, costing RM4bil, which are expected to be ready by 2025," he said.
In addition, he said his ministry was implementing 229 "projek raykat" with a total cost of RM9.06bil, comprising 121 road projects, 50 bridges, 53 buildings, four jetties and the RM296mil Bebuling STOLport (short takeoff and landing).
Of these, 98 projects have been completed, 53 under construction and 78 at the pre-contract stage.
"Upon their full completion, they will generate economic growth and improve the overall living standard of the people," Uggah said.