Sum (third left) presents Abang Johari with a traditional backpack while other VIPs look on.
Abang Johari (centre) and other VIPs greeting the welcoming troupe members.
KUCHING: Sarawak is not only blessed with political stability due to racial harmony, but also rich in resources especially water, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He pointed out that oxygen and hydrogen particularly could be extracted from water using the latest technology from Germany.
Abang Johari is confident that the technology to tap resources and energy in water can be employed in Sarawak because the state has the talent and peace to facilitate such industry.
“We can be the new Arabs. Arabs are oil rich. We are rich because of water. So we Sarawakians are the new Arabs,” he said to the applause of diners at the Lun Bawang Cultural Showcase organised by the Lun Bawang Association Sarawak (LBAS) Kuching branch at a hotel here on Sunday night.
The Chief Minister led a state delegation on a study tour to discover such technology in Germany recently.
On a separate matter, Abang Johari said he would meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to discuss on rebuilding 260 schools in Sarawak as most of these schools were in dilapidated state.
He did not tell much but hinted that the meeting with the premier would be on the financing of the schools’ rebuilding project and it would involve the Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) and disbursement of federal funds.
On another pertinent matter, Abang Johari pointed out that he had to exercise his power under the state’s special immigration law because he wanted to preserve racial unity in Sarawak.
He said he did not want negative elements from Peninsular Malaysia to come to the state and contribute to the destruction of racial and religious harmony which fellow Sarawakians had built and enjoyed all this while.
At the same time, he assured fellow Sarawakians that Barisan Nasional (BN) backbone party, United Malays National Organisation (Umno), would not set foot or spread its wings into the state.
“Racial harmony and unity is our culture and let us all preserve this unity. Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, has been declared as ‘City of Unity’, not by us by but by those from outside. So that means they recognised and acknowledged Sarawak as the model state to be emulated for racial harmony and unity in Malaysia,” he said.
He even took a swipe at a certain comical display by a personality over an anti Beer Festival campaign in Selangor by saying that Sarawak had no issue at all with holding such festival now and in the future.
The Chief Minister pledged RM50,000 to LBAS Kuching currently chaired by Suriya Charles Buas and another RM50,000 to the branch as seed money to start their building plan.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan pledged RM20,000 to the branch while Chief Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Abdullah Saidol, pledged to cover some of the cost in organising the function on Sunday night.
According to Suriya, the objective of the dinner was to gather all members in Kuching and to showcase the rich culture and traditions of the Lun Bawang community to fellow Sarawakians.
High achievers from the community in various fields at international and national level were introduced to the diners and VIPs.
Most Lun Bawangs live in Lawas, he said, while describing the presence of Abang Johari at the dinner as historic.
Other dignitaries attending the dinner were Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Datuk Henry Sum Agong who is also Lawas MP, Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang, Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh and leaders of various associations.