CM re­veals Sarawak’s vi­sion of be­com­ing Bor­neo’s power hub

New Straits Times - - News -

Sarawak is gear­ing to trans­form the state into a power hub in Bor­neo with its re­cent move to ac­quire the Bakun hy­dro­elec­tric plant, said Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Amar Abang Jo­hari Abang Openg.

Abang Jo­hari said the ac­qui­si­tion of the Bakun HEP dam from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will not only ben­e­fit the state and Sarawakians, but also Sabah and Kal­i­man­tan.

Dur­ing the Sarawak-level Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050 (TN50) plan di­a­logue here yesterday, Abang Jo­hari said the ac­qui­si­tion of more dams would cre­ate a sur­plus of power, which could be sold as in­come for Sarawak.

“We have started sell­ing power to Kal­i­man­tan, which re­quires it to up­grade its grid.

“God will­ing, if we can pro­duce a sur­plus in power, Sarawak can emerge as the main sup­plier of power to the whole of Bor­neo,” he told 1,600 par­tic­i­pants of the state TN50 di­a­logue at Univer­siti Malaysia Sarawak.

Shar­ing the stage with Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din, Abang Jo­hari was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Bekenu Sarawak United Na­tional Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion chair­man Mohd Fikri Ali.

Abang Jo­hari also shared with the au­di­ence, com­pris­ing mostly univer­sity stu­dents and youth or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives, on steps by the state to join the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

He said Sarawak was pre­pared to in­vest RM1 bil­lion to de­velop trunk in­fra­struc­ture that would in­crease the In­ter­net speed from an av­er­age of 40 megabits per sec­ond (mbps).

“We want the In­ter­net con­nec­tion to reach a cer­tain ter­abyte per sec­ond.

“Speed­ier data con­nec­tion will spur e-com­merce in the state. We have en­trepreneurs who want to ex­plore the dig­i­tal global mar­ket, but they do not have the en­abler.”

He also said the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem would be re­formed and it would em­pha­sise the mastery of Ba­hasa Malaysia and English.

“How will you keep abreast with tech­nol­ogy if you do not mas­ter the English lan­guage?

“Most man­u­als for equip­ment and gad­gets are writ­ten in English. Em­pha­sis­ing English does not mean we should ne­glect Ba­hasa Malaysia since it is our na­tional lan­guage,” he said, adding that Man­darin should also be fo­cused on fol­low­ing the emer­gence of China as an eco­nomic pow­er­house.

Khairy called on Sarawakians to pledge sol­i­dar­ity to Abang Jo­hari to help de­velop the state with as­sis­tance from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

On his vi­sion for 2050, Khairy said he hoped there would no longer be peo­ple us­ing race and re­li­gion to gain po­lit­i­cal mileage, which would only di­vide so­ci­ety.

“Let us look be­yond our dif­fer­ences and re­main united to de­velop the coun­try,” he said.

PIC BY CHE RANI CHE DIN

Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Amar Abang Jo­hari Abang Openg speak­ing at the state TN50 di­a­logue as Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din looks on at Univer­siti Malaysia Sarawak in Kota Samarahan yesterday.

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