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Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud (centre), accompanied by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (left), arrives for the state-level National Day celebration at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly in Kuching, August 31, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Information Department
Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud (centre), accompanied by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (left), arrives for the state-level National Day celebration at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly in Kuching, August 31, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Information Department

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KUCHING, Aug 31 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg tonight said the state government is ready to vaccinate those aged 12 to 17 following its success in inoculating those aged 18 and above against Covid-19.

He said the vaccination programme for teenagers, numbering about 289,200 or 9.94 per cent of the state’s population, will be under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

“The state government hopes that parents will extend their full cooperation to the authorities to facilitate the smooth implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination programme later,” he said during state-level National Day celebrations at the State Legislative Assembly here.

Abang Johari said 91 per cent or 1,869,360 out of 2,066,000 eligible Sarawakians aged 18 and above had received their first dose of the vaccine, as of yesterday.

“As for the second dose, this has been administered to a total of 1,821,499 or 88.2 per cent of qualified individuals aged 18 years and above,” he said.

The chief minister also said that the state’s economy is well-prepared for the journey towards achieving high-income and developed status by the year 2030.

“We are spending, and will be spending, billions of ringgit to build the physical infrastructure, Internet infrastructure, and the electricity and water supply infrastructure, as these are pre-requisites for the development of an advanced economy.

“I envisage that by 2025, we will be able to complete the construction of our major infrastructure projects that will provide greater connectivity and enhance the enabling factors conducive to the growth of industries, including agro-industries,” he added.

Abang Johari also said the state government is aware that talent development is of paramount importance to the state’s development.

“The existence of natural resources alone is not enough to propel the state economy as we learn from other countries like Japan and Singapore,” he said, adding that the most important asset is people, especially the youth, who should be equipped with the right knowledge, skills and training to develop and manage the economy.

“Although education and training are a federal matter, Sarawak took it upon itself to develop its education and training infrastructure, with Sarawak Foundation playing a major role,” he said, adding that Swinburne University of Technology, Curtin University, University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS), iCATS College University and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) have all been set up to spearhead talent and skills development in the state.

He said the state government is also building five international schools, with a curriculum that will be based on the Cambridge syllabus to give more opportunities to the brightest students, particularly rural students, to attain international standards.

“We cannot just sit by and leave our education and training entirely to the federal government for the simple reason that one size does not fit all.

“However, we are grateful to the federal government for according UCTS and iCATS with university status recently and approving the construction of a training hospital at Unimas which was long overdue,” Abang Johari said.

He also said that he hopes the federal government through its Ministries of Education and Higher Education continues to be receptive to the educational and training needs of the state as part of its overall development.

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