Thursday, March 27, 2014

SUPP reconciliating

After helping SPDP to reinstate its sacked assemblymen last week, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has done it again. His benefactor is SUPP, which rival factions sit at the same table ready to swallow their pride and reconcile to save the party from deregistration.

The Star (Sarawak)  | 26 March 2013

The Borneo Post | 26 March 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Penans gradually integrate with other ethnic groups

Anybody, who flies over Sarawak, for example through the commercial Kuching/Miri or Miri/Mulu or Kuching/Mukah route cannot escape to notice that about 60 per cent of its land surface, which is almost as big as Peninsular Malaysia, is still covered by forests.

The State has been taking good care of the forests as it used to be very dependent on the resources for economic development. For example, the forest resources used to contribute around 6 % annually to GDP.  The State has also been looking after the forests in order to pass them down to the new generations.

In this connection, the State government has introduced various measures to exploit the resources on sustainable manner. For example, it has implemented all relevant recommendations of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO).

Basically, all forests within Permanent Forest Estate (or PFE) are managed for sustainable timber production and only mature and over-mature trees are harvested in accordance with the Selective Felling System of the policy of the sustainable management of the resources. 

A total of 1.031 million hectares of primary forests or 8.4 per cent of the State’s total area have been designated as Totally Protected Areas (TPA), either as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres, Nature Reserves and Marine Parks.

The State Government has successfully implemented conservation and research programmes with both local and international scientific institutions, such as Universiti Malaya, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), New York Zoological Society, Harvard University, Smithsonian Institute, University of Illinois and University of Osaka. 

It has also been working closely with the Indonesian Government in creating the largest trans-boundary conservation area in the tropics namely Lanjak-Entimau/Bentuang-Karimun Biodiversity Conservation Area, which covers one million hectares of pristine forests in Sarawak and Indonesia.

Gradually, the forests areas, gazette as permanent forests, may be cut down to over 50%, as more of them will be cleared for sites of hydroelectricity dams, which will be constructed as and when needed in industrialization of the State economy. But even with more than 50% forest areas, Sarawak will be among few countries in the world that can afford to do it. 

Actually, Sarawak should be regarded as the State that looks after its forests well but instead it is being picked for severe criticisms by foreign NGOs, which have been giving very negative pictures of Sarawak as the place where the people abuse their forest resources and rake a lot of money by cutting down all trees. Of course, the accusations have no basis at all.

The newly retired fourth Chief Minister of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, in his speech during a recent dinner reception for the country’s heads of missions comprising of High Commissioners and Ambassadors, says the State government is implementing a policy to preserve about 54% of the State’s total surface as permanent forests. Out of it, 1 million hectares are preserved as totally protected areas, which comprise of parks, water catchment areas, wildlife sanctuaries or rehabilitation centers, which cannot be touched at all.

The permanent forests are being harvested on systematic basis, which allow trees to grow in a circle of 50 years; the area can only be harvested after a cycle of 25 years. The State’s forests policy allows only the right size of trees can be cut down; the trees that are less than 25 years cannot be touched at all. On that basis, when the next 25 years come, the trees in the same forest area will be more than 50 years. 

Regrettably, the State has got a very bad name among the NGOs, who have been talking against it in order to get good support for their campaign to save Sarawak forests, which are being looked after very well. Actually, the foreign NGOs have no other reasons to malign Sarawak in the context of the environment.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib, now the seventh Yang di Pertua Negeri of Sarawak, says the State government has to respect the basic concept of equality in the development of the people even though the State risked being accused of destroying some of the normal culture of the people. Sarawak, with more than 30 per cent of the population belonging to different ethnic groups, has the most diversified culture in the country.

However, with urbanization and development, the groups will not be maintaining 100% of their characteristics through natural progression, which is the way life; even developed countries have not been able to preserve their diversities. Generally, the people in some countries want to preserve unity rather than their characteristics.

Besides, the policy of total preservation of the traditional way of life of the people is contrary to the theory of natural progression, which emphasizes that people as human beings must treated accordingly.  For this reason, the State government has no right to treat the Penans differently than the other ethnic groups.  

To do so will be doing gross injustice to them. As a consequence, lot of Penans boys and girls will remain in the jungle like their forefathers before; it is not acceptable. The State has a standard of treatment to accord equality for all the people, comprising of about 30 ethnic and sub ethnic groups

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib believes the Penans will eventually integrate more with other more advanced ethnic groups like the Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabits and others and immerse themselves into the modern society of Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole.  The Penan community has already been able to produce university graduates with some of them being recruited into the civil service. The Penans are no different from any other native groups in Sarawak. They are intelligent and their level of intelligence is the same as others. 

However, in the early days when they were living in isolated areas they did not have opportunities to equip themselves with modern knowledge. Then the state government was still too poor to be able to look after them or reaching out to them.  That is the truth about the Penans, who used to live deep in the interior of Sarawak and associated with the life of hardship, which is below the poverty line.

The total population of the Penans, based on the census being carried out by the State government, with the co-operation of the Federal Secretary’s office in Sarawak, from April to October 2012, is 17,784.  They stay in 135 settlements in districts of Marudi, Miri, Limbang, Belaga and Bintulu.

The census reveals that only 275 of them from 54 families, who represent 1.55% of them still lead a nomadic way of life. Out of the total, 247 from 49 families are found in Ulu Sungei Tutoh  area  and 28 from five families in Ulu  Sungei Limbang  area.

The State Government is satisfied that, from the new data collected, members of the Penan community are gradually adopting a more settled livelihood.  This is consistent with the government’s wish to see that the Penans, like members of other communities, should enjoy public like schools and clinics and other socio-economic projects that are being provided in their areas. 

Regrettably, a small number of them, who still live the nomadic way of life, move from place to another over wide area, have nothing much to depend on. There was a time when the State government had to erect temporary sheds and gave them some preserved food so that they would to starve in their rounds of the forests to forage for food. But such things are no longer prevalent now.

The State government, believing in the sense of equality in human treatment, will continue to treat the Penans equally even though some foreigners want to keep them as human species in museum in the land of backwardness for them to see.  They perceive the State government’s treatment of the Penans like other ethnic groups being imbalance. They want the government to pamper them, which the government in many ways has been doing so with the desire to help them to lead a more settled lifestyle. 

Basically, while the State government appreciates their difference, their rights to live their own life must be respected. Otherwise, the State will be accused of trampling with their basic rights as human beings. However, they must be given opportunities for education and other basic amenities even though they still to stay as groups of wandering people in the forests.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib believes there is a possibility that the Penans will eventually give up their nomadic way of life with more good opportunities coming up to develop themselves like any groups.  For example, an increasing number of them, after getting into contacts with the other tribes, tend to stay in one place and settle down. In fact, there are not many Penans, who are still wandering now.  Most of them are not noticeable because they mix naturally with the other indigenous people.

Understandably, as representatives of the country, the heads of missions must have balanced pictures of the local situation and environment to enable them to give its correct image. For example, they must be well equipped to understand Sarawak both in the human and economic sense.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib says, generally, the people in Sarawak are looking forward for the change for the State to become more or less an industrial society by the year 2030. That is not very far away and the journey does not seem to be impossible to them. It is an evolution of people, who given the opportunity for education and development in the process of nation building, should be able to achieve the desired goal. In this regards, while native groups may continue to inhabit rural areas and their lives will change but they will keep their culture that are relevant with the change of time.  

He suggests that similar gatherings should take place regularly so that heads of missions can be well briefed about the three portions of Malaysia, which have got different backgrounds, history and inevitably slightly different ways of doing things. But with progress and development all the three potions of the country are heading towards greater uniformity in future.

Earlier, in welcoming the heads of missions, he says as you may have already known this particular occasion happened to be my last official function as the Chief Minister of Sarawak before my retirement on March 1, 2014.

Looking back briefly, he says his association with Foreign Ministry started as a Minister in the Federal Government.  Then he was pushed into speaking for Foreign Affairs when the the then Prime Minister, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman sent him to Rabat, Morocco to find out how to establish the Union of Muslims States.

Then the Foreign Minister of Morocco suggested that they form an exploratory committee for the proposed establishment of the union of Muslims states to be headed by him.  He insisted on giving him the responsibility to organize the meeting. That was his fate after being told by the Prime Minister then to head one of the missions under foreign affairs.

Besides, from time to time he had deal with foreign affairs, which at that time came under two Ministers, one to roam about and one to stay a put.  For this reason, he feels at home in Foreign Affairs with people that he used to know. Some of the officers of his contemporaries
remained very good friends after their retirement.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib takes great pride in having served Malaysia for more than 50 years, first as a State Minister at the age of 27 from July 22, 1963 in the first Cabinet after Independence, Federal Minister for 13 years and the Chief Minister for 33 years.  He treasures all the opportunities and memories of serving the government of Malaysia and the State of Sarawak during the period.  He is hoping to see the future with more development and integration happening in the natural ways.

Sarawak Monitor
March 24, 2014

The Borneo Post

The Borneo Post

The Borneo Post

Monday, March 17, 2014

My way it'll be

Sarawak Monitor takes as it responsibility to highlight the 5th Chief Minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem, who took over the helm of the State Government of Sarawak on March 1, 2014.

The Star (Sarawak Edition) - 16 March 2014

Sarawak Monitor
March 17, 2014


Friday, March 14, 2014

Sarawak is in safe hands to continue with economic growth, development

The newly retired fourth Chief Minister of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, at the requests of local and foreign journalists, gave a series of press interviews after he handed over his letter to relinquish his post as the Chief Minister after holding it for about 33 years, to the Yang di Pertua Negeri, Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Muhammad Salahuddin at the Istana on February 12, 2014.

He had resigned his post as the Chairman of Barisan Nasional Sarawak and President of PBB. Besides, he had  also resigned as the State Assemblyman for Balingian. In his last press conference, which was attended by horde of reporters and photographers, on February 21, he touches on a wide range of issues like the challenges ahead, new employment and business opportunities, challenges of SCORE and hosts of other things.

The transcribed text of the interview, which was followed by exclusive interviews by electronic media, will be produced by this column is series. The following is the excerpt of the first part.  This will probably be the last of my free interaction with the press and I would like to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am to have the opportunity to serve the country. I have never expected that my service for the people, State and country has lasted this long. I do consider myself lucky to be able to see the state’s development has become quite sophisticated as a consequence of very serious efforts to better ourselves for the  future. Our politics has become quite moderate, which I believe reflects the true character of the people of Sarawak. 


Generally, the people, comprising of various racial and religious groups, have no feeling of enmity among them. In fact, the co-operation among the people is very apparent to enable us to work together not only to solve but avoid a lot of problems that can impede the progress of the country.

My thought is already looking at the transition towards a more busy society, where the people, who have not worked will be engaged in preparing themselves for their various callings. They will have to learn to pursue employment and business opportunities that will arise to improve themselves.  Generally, the people of Sarawak are prepared to change their places of work if new development areas come up. 

I believe SCORE will draw more people into the middle part of Sarawak. In fact, I believe SCORE will open up the interior of Sarawak for greater development in the next 20 years. The State will probably have two or three new towns, one each in Ulu Baram, Balleh and a border area in the first or Second division.  That will make Sarawak to be well distributed in population to enable further development and bigger support of population.

Landmark bridges across Baram River named ASEAN Bridge in Miri is to connect Sarawak and Brunei, was officially opened on 30.8.2003

I see this new development coming up in the next 20 years or in one generation.  By then Sarawak will have better attraction in terms of tourism with the capability to build more new towns, with the probability of two lake side towns that will make the people to be mobile with better levels of income. 

Generally, the people, if they can focus on challenges and get themselves adjusted to change, will find Sarawak to be a place which they can be proud of. What will emerge will be a greater feelings of pride for Sarawak and conscientiousness that they belong to a nation that is doing very well.

The State is developing steadily and taking its place in the world where world trade is the rule and where the people can find themselves be smacked in the middle as a result of long involvement in trade; the State will export more manufacturing goods in future.  Not only that, Malaysians will one day be able to show, they can work anywhere in the world according to their trainings and education.  This is the kind of world where the people can fit in very well.  Asia will be the place with greater prosperity in the future.

Bakun Dam

I have great faith that the economic activities of the world that will slowly shift to the East and increase the pace of the State or the country’s involvement in them.  This is the general picture that I want to leave behind to be remembered by Sarawakians. This is the general outline which I see that we ought to strive for. It will involve all people whether they are Malays, Ibans, Chinese, Bidayuhs or Orang Ulus.

I will not be active after the March 1 in terms of political struggle because the common struggle has been be able to train younger people to continue it with greater strength and vigor. There are already a number of new intakes in politics and more of them will come up from one to other elections.  I believe when the Chinese have sorted out their politics properly in the next two or three years, they will be able get younger people, who can serve the people and the country very well. 

Generally, the people of Sarawak are very conscious of the fact that they must remain united and have stability in politics because they know this is very much a pre-condition towards achieving a better future that I have tried to outline in my initial remarks just now.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) permanent campus officially opened on 18.4.2006

I am retiring with a feeling of confidence that the country is in the safe hand and that I will be able to witness a continued development and the emergence of a new team, who will be able to serve Sarawak well in the next 10 years time. The new leadership comprises of people, who have been growing up together and sharing a lot of experience, whether in development or politics.

The new Chief Minister, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Haji Satem and members of his Cabinet  know as much as I do on what to do in the next 10 years. I do not know whether he will need any advice from me, if he does I think the post of the Governor, just like the Queen of England, is the position where if he has  gathered enough experience that can be passed to the governing leadership;  If they ask for it,  he can offer advice.  This is the rule that has been the model in England and in Malaysia.

Our system is based on the English model.  It does not have to be very formal in all our relationship. It can be done through conversation or consultation before Cabinet meetings.  There are plenty of occasions where we can tap on each other’s view to address issues. There will be new situations coming up where the new leadership wants more views and I am willing to give to them for all its worth.

The Bintulu Deep Sea Port commenced its operation on April 1988.
Basically my advice will be in a different sense than their advice, which will be quite mandatory for me as the head of State to follow. But my advice to the Chief Minister is one of the opinions that he has got to gather if he needs it.  I know this thing very well. I know it from theoretical point of view according to our constitution that we have adopted from the British. 

I also know that the State needs only one boss and that is the Chief Minister because the responsibility is his. If there is any mistake he has to bear it, if there is any credit, he will earn it. So that has been our views and the practice in Malaysia whether at the Federal or the State level. So I do not see any problem in it. After all we have been living in this kind of system of democracy for a long time and I do not see any problems at all.

My first vision, when I was given the responsibility to helm the State government on March 26,1981 was to create jobs for the people of Sarawak. Then the rate of unemployment or rather under employment was quite obvious.  Though there was no statistics to indicate the problem but it was quite obvious.  The main reason was because the state government before me had not got the time to develop the state as freely as they wanted to because they had to be involved with the struggle to achieve peace for Sarawak. 

Sarawak during the period from the 60s to the 70s had to face serious security problems that the whole of third, sixth and seventh divisions had to declared a special security area under the Rejang Security Command or RASCOM.  Some of the roads building programs were interfered with some of equipments being destroyed by armed communist terrorists.

Opening of the Friendship Park in Jalan Song, Kuching as a part of the over all development to turn City of Kuching as liveable city. The Malaysia-China Friendship Park was officially opened on 18 May 2006 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Malaysia-China diplomatic relations.

My immediate predecessor’s priority was to achieve peace and that to me was a great achievement in the 70s.  Once peace was achieved I could have the opportunity to dream something more about development. My first dream was to see whether I could provide enough employment opportunities for the people, those in rural areas in particular. 

Then I tried to do what I called diversifying the program for the economic development of Sarawak.  By and large we managed to do this by the 90s.  After that our vision became more developed. I wanted to do as long as I could stay to make all the idle lands to become productive so that they could become the source of income for the people in the rural areas.

The migration from the rural to urban areas could only take place among younger people, or among the people, who think they have the ability to cope with the new situation in the towns. I think essentially we have achieved that.  Now after having about 2 million hectares of palm oil and the potential to develop palm oil as the basis of the State’s agro-based industries, we are adding on to the programs for industrialisation.

Of course, that was a bit more difficult because Sarawak population was small just more than one million in those days.  However, the infrastructure to link all parts of the State is being done, now almost completed. The education system has not been developed to the extent that we can escalate the different kinds of trainings. We talked a lot about this in the 90s and 2000.

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) was officially launched by the former Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

I have made preparations to have two technical schools coming up and more are being worked out in order to cope with the requirements of SCORE, which introduces what I think is the beginning of an industrial society namely we will go for big industries and develop the downstream industries. All of them will require various types of training for certificate, diploma or university qualifications.   

Now Sarawak can boast of six universities from nothing to enable it to do quite well in producing the higher ends or graduates of universities. But the State is still struggling to provide technical training for the people in the middle rung. In the bottom rung there is enough self-help in the struggle by young people through apprenticeship system or working in firms here and there; these are the informal ones.

But what I want to see is the training of the technical workers in a formal manner in the next 10 years. My colleagues like Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri  Alfred Jabu, Datuk Amar Abg Haji Johari Tun Openg,  Datuk Amar Haji Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, have all been involved in this kind of exercise. I believe in the next five to 10 years will be the busiest period for Sarawak to re-orientate the  education and training systems to be in line with what needs in the second half of SCORE.

The foundation stone of Dewan Suarah Kuching was laid on 25.9.1985

By then there will be more aggressive transformation towards the technical development of Sarawak. Meanwhile, things like oil and gas and agro –based industries will be escalating in the next 10 years. This is a good impetus for the people to be serious about the training programs. 

Sarawak has got a long history of racial harmony within the longhouses and kampongs in all mixed fashions in towns. For example any old Chinese will tell you that they have no problems having the relationship with non Chinese in towns; interactions have developed steadily not by intrigue forces in anyway. That accounts for a very smooth transition towards more multi-racial towns in the State today. In this regard, even in longhouses or traditional Kampungs, there is  an escalation of mobility where people can go to nearest towns more frequently than before.

Of course, the political and works programs have been helping the people to interact more and more. All these things are happening on the basis of the good relationship that the people have been able to enjoy in the past. Until or unless politics change drastically, to play too much on racial lines, Sarawak will be able to preserve, in fact build on it for a more closely knitted multi-racial society.

For example, look at Kuching, Miri or Sibu today each of them has become a place where people interact  more and more through their works places; what is more they interact more and more after their works.

Official Opening of Islamic Information Centre on 17 August 2008. The Islamic Information Centre (IIC) gives a new dimension to Islam which used to be symbolised by mosque.

The adoption by all races of various festivals whether it is Hari Raya, Chinese New Year or Gawai Dayak, which is increasingly becoming a new phenomenon in towns, encourage  interactions among the people. As I have said earlier unless politics harps of racial animosity, emotions or grievances, the State should be able to maintain racial harmony and unity and build on them.

There is no reason why the people should be quarrelling. Even the people in the not so prosperous segment of the society have all good hopes that they will be able to prosper and that their children will be able to live better than them.  This is quite a justifiable hope seeing the accessibility of education that even tertiary education is spreading out everywhere.

It is very rare to see any longhouses in rural areas without people having tertiary education; they will have people with at least diploma education. It is a very different kind of picture from what I used to see before. This so because we have better economy, better means of communications and the racial harmony that we have been enjoying for so long.

Sarawak Monitor
March 14, 2014
Photos :

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Success of Sarawak under the leadership of Pehin Sri Abdul Taib

Some describe Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, the newly retired Chief Minister and now the serving Seventh Governor of Sarawak as person with very clear vision and strong sense of purpose in his leadership; all of them are right. Some also call him workaholic. They are also right. The fact is there is no single word that can give a complete description to his style of leadership. He is a Malaysian by Nationality and a Sarawakian by birth of extraordinaire as a person and a leader.

Sarawak has indeed been blessed to be served under his extraordinaire leadership, the 33 years of continuous leadership at the helm of the Barisan Nasional – led State government in particular.  He has been blessed with good health to enable him to serve and transform Sarawak from one of the poorest to become one of the fastest developing states in the country.

With his training as a lawyer in the University of Adelaide, brief service  as Deputy Public Prosecutor, being appointed as Cabinet Minister at the age of 27 in the post Independent Sarawak, and 13  years experience serving in various capacities  and ministries  in the Federal Government, he had earned vast national and international experience and exposures by the time he came back to helm the State government on March 26, 1981.  

Undoubtedly, Sarawak has achieved tremendous progress during the last 50 years as a State in Malaysia.   The per capita income of Sarawak, in the last 30 years, is a good indicator of changes that have taken place in the State. In 1981, the per capita income was only RM4,000. Today it is RM42,000 in spite of the change of the population  from slightly more than 1 million to 2.5 million, an increase of more than 10 times.

With the current pace of development to be accelerated with the development of SCORE, the development of Samalaju Industrial estate and Tanjung Manis Halal hub in particular, Sarawak will become a developed State by the year 2017 or 2018.  That is the overall economy that the people will be living in towards the year 2020 and beyond. 

On Independence Day, September 16, 1963, 50 years ago, Sarawak had only about 600Km of roads, in the major towns of Kuching, Sibu and Miri. Then the main mode of transportation was river transport to places outside those towns to the remote hinterland in Limbang, Baram, Kapit, Belaga, Saratok, Betong and Lubok Antu and to all places along the long coastline from Samarahan, Sebuyau, Kabong, Mukah right up to Bintulu. 

Today, the road network has expanded by 50 times to over 30,000Km. The network does not only link up cities and towns but has been extended to rural and coastal areas. It has been able to link coastal villages and remote interiors even to neighboring Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Sabah. 

However, Sarawak, being a large state with the land surface almost as big as Peninsular Malaysia, still has a long way to go. Besides, the population density is only 20 persons per square KM. The topography featuring undulating terrains in the interior and deep peats and large rivers in the coastal and central regions, which are unmatched in peninsular Malaysia, is indeed very challenging in development. 
Kuching - 1960s
Main Bazaar Rd - 1960s
Therefore, it was a very tall order to connect Kampungs and longhouses in nooks and corners of the state by roads. Hence, the State government had to give priority to extend the road network to remote and isolated areas at the expense of quality.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib’s   first immediate concerned was to create employment opportunities for the people. Then the rate of unemployment, though there was no statistics to support it, was quite obvious.  It was because the previous state governments had to be preoccupied with immediate task to bring peace, security and stability to the State. 

It could not develop the state as freely as it had wanted to. It had to fight the security threat posed by armed communist terrorists, who were bent on overthrowing the democratically elected State government in favor of autocratic communist system of government. 

In the 70s, the whole of third, Sixth and Seventh divisions were declared a special security area under the Rejang Security Command or RASCOM.   The people in longhouses, which were exposed to the influences and armed threats of the terrorists, had to be resettled in Nanga Ngunggun, Nanga Dap, Ngemah and Selanggau as part of the security measures.

Undoubtedly, the people, since Independence in 1963 have been enjoying the benefits of development.  For example, there were more people under employment than employment in 1963. Generally, the people had to live from hand to mouth. They had to work first before they could have their breakfast. By the 70s, there were only 300,000 job opportunities. Now there are 1.1 million job opportunities in the State. 

The rate of unemployment in 1990 was 9.9%. It has dropped to around 4% now. As a consequent, the rate of poverty has been reduced from more than 60% in 1963 to 2.4% now. The household income in 1963 was only RM410 and now it is RM4,200 an increase of more than 10 times. 

The market to promote growth of the economy was only focused in Kuching, Sibu and Miri and negligible in other towns; generally, the situation has changed tremendously in rural areas.

The State government, with the support and co-operation of the Federal government has constructed more than 26,000 miles of roads to various parts of the State since Independence. Before, the people had to use boats or walk to such places but now they can use motorcars or motorcycles.

More importantly Sarawak has concrete plans to implement many a number of gigantic industrial projects to push the development further ahead.   For example, the State government has to build more roads, more technical colleges and vocational schools to prepare more young people to be become trained workers in the next 20 years. 

Generally, Sarawak, which has already achieved a high standard of development with very competitive costs, will implement the development programs that can create opportunities for the people to earn high income towards the year 2020 and beyond. 

Obviously, Sarawak has been getting very good response from investors to set up heavy industries in SCORE development area.  Actually, foreign investors have already pledge more than 140 billion worth of investments to SCORE development area.  For this reason, the State government has been able to plan the development of industries for the next 20 years. 

The per capita income of Sarawak, in the last 30 years, is a good indicator of changes that have taken place in the State. In 1981, the per capita income was only RM4,000. Today it is RM42,000 in spite of the change of the population  from slightly more than 1 million to 2.5 million, an increase of more than 10 times. 

With the current pace of development to be accelerated with the development of SCORE, the development of Samalaju Industrial estate and Tanjung Manis Halal hub in particular, Sarawak will become a developed State by the year 2017 or 2018 well before the year 2020.  That is the overall economy that the people will be living in towards the year 2020 and beyond. 

Arguably, Sarawak has been able to succeed fast with most of the income coming from outside. The State, with a population of only 2.5 million, cannot depend on its own wealth and resources.  Fortunately, Sarawak has become part of the world trading partner and has been able to play a global game to build its revenue and wealth. 

Some of the earlier projects being carried by the State government being led by Pehin Sri Abdul should be able to help the people to give their own description of his kind of leadership. 

26.3. 1981 –  YAB Datuk Amar Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud  sworn in as the 4th Chief Minister of Sarawak
6.11.1982 -    Laying of the foundation stone of Wisma Saberkas costing RM100 million in Kuching.
30.8.1983  -  Launching of YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Scholarship Foundation.
13.12. 1983 – Declaring open Kemena bridge in Bintulu
24.1.1985 –   Declaring open Bintulu Industrial Gas Plant
5.5.1985  -    Declaring open Oil palm processing factory at Jalan Ridan/Lubok Antu
21.8.1985 -   Commissioning of Batang Ai hydroelectricity dam 
24.9.1985 -   Laying of the foundation stone New State mosque at Petra Jaya
18.12.1985 – Opening of new terminal building of Miri Airport
25.9.1985 –   Laying of the foundation stone of Dewan Suarah Kuching
24.9.1985 –  Laying of the foundation stone of New Mosque at Petra Jaya
25.9.1985  -  Laying of the foundation stone of Dewan Suarah Kuching
25.9.1985 – Opening of Syariah Court at Jalan Satok
11.3.1986 – Opening of Wisma Pelita costing RM52 million in Miri
24.7.1986 -   Launching of Samarahan district as a new division.
27.7.1986 –   Opening of government secondary school in Pusa
29.7. 1986 –  Opening of  Simunjan/Bukit Tunda road
1.1.1987 –    Launching of Bintulu District as a new division
26.3.1987 –   Launching of  Saremas Palm oil estate with total acreage of 24,000 acres at Suai
12.4.1987 –  Opening of Government Secondary School in Song
10.6.1988 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Sarikei
20.6. 1988 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Miri
4.7.1988 –   Opening of Dewan Suarah Sibu
4.7.1988 -    Opening of Rimbunan Hijau Plywood factory costing costing RM40 million at Tanjung Ensurai
5.7. 1988 –  Opening of Dewan Suarah Mukah
11.7.1988 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Limbang
1.8.1988   -  Elevation  of Kuching  as a city
20.8. 1988 – Opening of Sarawak Indoor Stadium
30.8.1988 –  Opening of  Santubong bridge
4.9.1988 –   Opening of  Dewan Suarah Kuching
7.9.1988 -   Opening of Wisma Alam, STIDC building costing RMRm38.4 million
8.9.1988 -   Opening of Kuching Port expansion project at Senari
19.1. 1989 – Opening of RM42 million Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (Federal Complex)
30.8. 1989 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Kapit
15.2.1990 -   Opening of Sarawak Cultural Village at Damai
27.5. 1990 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Bau
14.6.1990 – Earth breaking ceremony of Mulu Airstrip costing RM84.43 million
14.9.1990  -  Earthbreaking  ceremony of the proposed RM65 million Kuching North City hall at Bukit Siol, Petra Jaya
12.10.1990 – Opening of the new State Mosque at Petra Jaya
15.10.1990 -  Opening of 36 KM Kota Samarahan/Sadong Jaya Road
17.10. 1990 -  Signing of the historic peace agreement between CCO and the government
3.11.1990 -    Fifty Communist Terrorist Remnants of North Kalimantan Communist Party came out of their jungle   
              hideouts that marked the closing of the Chapter of Malaysia’s insurgency problems of more than three decades
13.11.1990 – Approval of Land Code (Amendment) Bill to allow foreigners to own designated land areas in the State for the purpose of development
16.12.1990 – Earth breaking ceremony of Batang Layar Agriculture and Development Station near Betong
25.2.1991 –  Opening of Tebedu Immigration Complex and Tebedu/Entekong Kalimantan Barat road
17.3.1991 – Earth breaking ceremony of Lubok Antu/Lemanak/Engkari Road in Lubok Antu
7.8.1991 –  Opening of Noble wood sawmill in Sejingkat
26.8.1991 – Opening of Dewan Suarah Sri Aman
23.8.1991 – Laying of the foundation stone of Asajaya/Sadong Jaya District office and community hall
28.8.1991 – Laying of the foundation stone City Hall of Kuching city South
4.9.1991 – Opening of Civic Centre Marudi
9.9.1991 – Opening of the new administrative building of Kuching Rural District  Council
13.9.1991 – The groundbreaking ceremony Kuching Waterfront development along side Sarawak River
23.9.1991 – Opening of fisheries complex costing RM4.4 million in Mukah
28.9.1991 – State Barisan Nasional won 49 out of the 56 state seats in the State Elections
16.4.1992 – The Federal Ministry of Education approves the establishment of University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
22.5.1992 – Opening of Islamic Museum in Kuching
28.8.1992 – Opening of Samarahan Resident and District Office in Kota Samarahan
28.1.1993 – Announcement of 10-year plan for the development of Sarawak Museum
20.5. 1993 – Opening of Masjid Demak Jaya Baru in Kuching
1.6. 1993 –   Enforcement of the Native Courts Ordinance 1992
7.6.1993 – Opening of Miri Municipal Council Overhead bridge
7.8. 1993 – Laying of the Foundation stone the new township Bandar Mutiara (Tebedu)
12.8.1993 – Commissioning of Sungei Bayong water treatment plant costing RM10 million near Sarikei
21.8.1993 – Opening of Asajaya government secondary school
24.8.1993 – Opening of Water treatment complex at Lambir
27.8.1993 – Launching of Bako causeway
30.8.1993 – Opening of City Hall of Kuching City North costing RM60 million at Samariang
31.8.1993 - Laying of the Foundation stone of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
4.9.1993 -  Opening of RM89 million  Kuching Waterfront
17.9.1993 – Openin g of Mukah Power Station
11.10.1993 – Earth breaking of Matu – Igan road costing RM75 million.
21.10.1993 – Ground breaking of ceremony of Satok Flyover in Kuching
28.10.1993 – Opening of second Indoor Stadium in Kuching.
10.11.1993 – Launching of Menara Pelita (STIDC building) costing RM76 million in Kuching
16.11. 1993 – The State Legislative Assembly passed the Financial Procedure (Contingencies and Trust Funds)(Amendment) Bill; the Intrepretation(Amendment) Bill, Sarawak cultural Heritage Bill; and
Natural Resources (Amendment) Bill
3.12. 1993 – Laying of the Foundation stone Bintulu District hospital costing RM60million
1.1.1994    -    Enforcement of Sarawak River Ordinance
26.3.1994 –   Laying of the foundation stone of Government Office Complex and new mosque in Mukah
26.3.1994 – Opening of Setia Raja Boulevard costing RM 7.2 million in Mukah
8.4.1994 –   Opening of 5-star Rihga Royal Hotel, costing RM200 million, in Miri
21.4.1994 –  Earth –breaking ceremony of Miri Waterfront, costing RM200 million.
4.5.1994  -   Unveiling of  RM150 million Sungei Sarawak Regulation Scheme
23.11.1995 - Opening of Sarawak Flour Mill at Demak Laut Industrial Estate, Kuching  
1.1.1996       Enforcement of new General Orders for civil servants in Sarawak
25.2.1996 - Laying of the foundation stone of  Asajaya mosque
15.3.1996 – Opening of the City Hall of of Kuching City South
16.3.1996 – Launching of Bintulu new Industrial projects – Boreno Pulp and paper andSarawak Pulp and Paper
26.3.1996 – Opening of Crop Research and Application unit of Pelita at Jalan Santubong
28.8.1996 - Signing of memorandum of Understanding between Sarawak Information System sdn. Bhd and GITN sdn.bhd.
27.11. 1996 –  Launching of Utama SSSB Premier Fund, Sarawak’s first commercial unit trust fund
21.4.1994 –    Earth breaking of RM200 million Miri Waterfront project
22.11. 1999 -   Opening of the new building of Teachers Training College, costing RM68million in  Kota Samarahan 
24.11. 1999 –  Opening of  Senari Terminal of Kuching Port Aurhority
22.11. 1999 -   Opening of the new building of Teachers Training College, costing RM68 million in  Kota Samarahan 
24.11. 1999 –  Opening of  Senari Terminal of Kuching Port Authority
31.12. 1999 –  Opening of Pustaka Negeri Sarawak

Sarawak Monitor
March 8, 2014