KUCHING: The Sarawak government has full confidence in the wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in ensuring that the state election can be held in accordance with the regulations of the State Constitution without compromising the safety of the people.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the nationwide declaration of emergency by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had removed the possibility of holding the election anytime soon.
The emergency effective January 11 to August 1, 2021 was declared as a measure to control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in the country. It can be lifted earlier if an independent committee recommends that the pandemic is under control.
“I had actually planned to hold the state election last year, but we chose to postpone it as the circumstances did not allow it. The health and wellbeing of our people are the priority of the GPS government led by me,” Abang Johari said in his Chinese New Year (CNY) message.
On another matter, he pointed out that the Chinese community prioritised education for their children – “Wherever there is a Chinese settlement, there is also a school.”
He assured that GPS, as an inclusive government, would continue to provide annual assistance to 14 Chinese private secondary schools throughout Sarawak.
“The existing Chinese private school education system, which also involves many non-Chinese students, should not be neglected as it also contributes to the development of the state’s human resources – especially in the context of regional economy preceded by China’s economy,” he said.
Abang Johari said he had recently handed over a state government grant of RM10 million for this purpose and to continue the efforts initiated by former chief minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
“Aside from this, the state government has also provided assistance to Chinese primary schools, where some 60 percent of the students are Bumiputera,” he said.
On the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted that the situation seemed to be unrelenting for now, with the fourth wave even more vicious than previous spikes.
“We cannot afford to be complacent and make mistakes as the current jump in number of cases, particularly in Sibu, has shown that one single source of infection can cause thousands of others to be infected all over the state,” he said.
He also urged the people to practise honesty when providing information to the authorities as inaccurate information could cause unnecessary infection to others.
“We need to continue with our efforts to keep Covid-19 infection rates down again, and hopefully with the coming of the vaccine, the situation can be better towards the second half of the year,” he said.
In the meantime, he called on the people to abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and cooperate with frontliners and enforcement authorities to bring down the infection rates.
Abang Johari also thanked the frontliners, noting that they had to bear tremendous work pressure and sacrifice to keep the people free from infection.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic prevented people from celebrating CNY in the usual way, he hoped that the tradition of celebrating CNY would still have its significance.
He said while the usual visiting activities could not be carried out, this should not stop the people from continuing to strengthen ties among each other by cultivating the spirit of mutual respect.
“I wish all our Chinese friends a happy Lunar New Year and may the Year of the Ox brings us prosperity, unity, good health, and deliverance from the Covid-19 pandemic in our beloved Land of the Hornbill,” he said.
(extracted and repost in full from an online portal)