Increased new voters, AI could spell more challenging political landscape for S’wak, says Uggah

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KUCHING (Oct 8): Sarawak will face a more challenging political landscape in the future, with the main factor being the increase in the number of new voters following the lowering of voting age from 21 to 18, said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said other factors included the presence of digital technology and data innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) that will change the way of life and politics in the future.

“As such, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) members must be ready to face the various challenges that come our way,” he said at the PBB Special Convention 2023 (Betong Zone) which was officiated by Premier and PBB president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg in Betong here today.

Uggah, who is also PBB deputy president, reminded PBB members to always remain vigilant as there are still certain groups who are looking to divide the party with their own agenda.

“For example, the Randau Dayak WhatsApp group often incites lies by claiming that the government has never issued land titles to our Dayak native customary rights (NCR) lands.

“We must fight back their claims at longhouses through social media, reporting to the police or suing them, which is my personal experience,” he said.

He stressed that the Sarawak government under the leadership of Abang Johari has continuously helped the people of Sarawak regardless of their race, religion or status.

He pointed out that furthermore, the Premier had also persistently fought to restore Sarawak’s eroded rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) where thus far 11 matters had been resolved while another 23 were still under negotiation.

“Today, Sarawak has the right to impose 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products. It is not easy to request for this right.

“The previous federal government under former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Petronas did not agree with our Premier’s proposal who then decided to take this matter to court, and Sarawak won.

“Since 2019, Sarawak has the constitutional right to levy State Sales Tax (SST) for petroleum and gas to increase Sarawak’ revenue,” he said, adding that the state’s SST collection from 2019 up until Oct 6 this year recorded at RM14.9 billion.

Uggah said Abang Johari’s clear and firm vision is supported by a strong financial plan to bring Sarawak to the digital era.

He said this was proven when the whole state was brought together through digital technology including the applications of AI and 5G technology.

“This has thus become the catalyst for economic transformation in Sarawak,” he added.

At the same time, he said the Premier also has a vision of making Sarawak a developed region by 2030 through the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 as well as introducing several new economic fields such as green energy.

Also present were PBB deputy president Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, senior vice president Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, vice presidents Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee, permanent chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, and secretary-general Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

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