KUCHING: The Sarawak State government will continue to facilitate private investments, acknowledging the fact that the private sector has the necessary ingredients, namely, capital, latest technology and management expertise, as proven in many developed economies.
“This is also in line with the state’s Socio-Economic Transformation Programme objectives,” said Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in his keynote address at the opening of the Fourth Sarawak Business and Investment Summit here today.
The text of his speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who is also Sarawak’s Second Minister for Sarawak Urban Development and Natural Resources and Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development
Abang Johari said the state government has implemented many transformation initiatives in major sectors of the economy, namely, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, urban development, entrepreneurship and environment.
He said the agriculture sector would be transformed through modernisation, commercialisation and application of digital technology.
The state hoped to attract more private investments from the agriculture sector’s supply chain through these initiatives, he said.
Abang Johari said efforts would be intensified to develop and promote the services sector, the biggest contributor to Sarawak’s economy, especially the tourism sub-sector.
“The tourism industry will be transformed through strong branding, wider connectivity and better infrastructures, he said.
On the urban economy, Abang Johari said, it would be expanded to create more employment and business opportunities, while at the same time, develop an orderly urban environment to enhance urban quality of life.
To support the growth of urban economy, he said, systematic property development would be carried out in major towns especially Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
In order to leapfrog the state’s economy, Abang Johari said, Sarawak would embark on digital economy to take advantage of emerging technologies like big data analytics, to enable Sarawak to move its industries towards Manufacturing 4.0.
At the same time, he said, it would also attract high-technology companies to invest in Sarawak.
“For this, RM1 billion has been committed from the state funds to upgrade Sarawak’s Information and Communication Technology infrastructure to provide reliable coverage of high speed broadband throughout Sarawak,” he said.
He said the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) Ordinance would be tabled at the coming State Legislative Assembly.
“Among SMA’s objectives are to spearhead the promotion of digital economy by regulating and coordinating information and communications technology businesses in Sarawak,” he said.
He said Sarawak was also blessed with rich flora and fauna, but their potentials in the pharmaceutical and medicinal fields have yet to be fully exploited.
“The state will be setting up a research council to encourage and coordinate the research and development activities, he said.
Abang Johari said Sarawak has already set-up the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre in Kuching and just completed the Biovalley Research Centre in Curtin University costing some RM60.6 million.
The centre would also provide incubator facilities and urged the private sector to take advantage of such facilities to carry out research and development works in the pharmaceutical and medicinal fields, he said.
He said the state would continue to support small and medium enterprises growth, especially in this digital era, by providing financial and infrastructure assisstance such as industrial estates, collection centres and incubators such as the digital village.
“Creative and innovative minds can gather at the digital village to develop and commercialise new ideas, encourage the use of digital platform for e-commerce and promote talent and develop the capacity of our people, particularly the youth,” he said.
Also present were Chief Executive Officer and Director of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute Tan Sri Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh, Sarawak Assistant Minister for Entrepreneur and SME Development and E-Commerce Datuk Mohd. Naroden Majais, Sarawak Industrial Development Assistant Minister Malcom Mussen Lamoh, Deputy State Secretary (Socio-Economic Transformation) Datu Ismawi Ismuni and Bernama Chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang. – Bernama