The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Saving lives first before polls – CM


KUCHING: Sarawak is in no hurry to hold the next state election, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said at the moment, the state government is focused on looking after the health of Sarawakian­s amidst the Covid19 pandemic.

“We are still in a state of emergency. The state election can be held later — any time can hold the election. However (saving) people’s lives cannot (be postponed) anytime,” he told a press conference after launching the Sarawak Covid-19 Vaccinatio­n Programme Phase I for front-liners yesterday.

Abang Johari was responding to questions on whether the state election would be held as soon as the Sarawak Covid19 Vaccinatio­n Programme is completed in August.

He assured that the state government would continue to ensure the health of Sarawakian­s and those residing in the state is prioritise­d to break the Covid19 chain of infection.

“That is why we (state government) don’t think of anything else, we prioritise the people’s health first,” he said.

Abang Johari pointed out some of the state government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 included quarantini­ng persons-under-surveillan­ce in hotels and other accommodat­ion statewide, which cost the state government around RM72 million since last year.

“Apart from the accommodat­ion, we also paid for their meals. All of it is borne by the state government. Besides that we also help those who are struggling financiall­y due to Covid-19.

“Our priority now is the people’s health. Money we can find, but the people’s lives cannot be replaced,” he said.

He added that coincident­ally in the midst of the pandemic, Petronas had discovered gas in the Central Luconia Province, just 80km off the Sarawak coast on Feb 10.

“So we will negotiate with Petronas,” he said, explaining that with the potential funds for Sarawak following the gas discovery, the state would be able to assist the people more.

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