KUCHING: The Orang Ulu Chamber aims to facilitate the creation of a community of Orang Ulu entrepreneurs focused on the holistic development of the community in all areas: a robust economy; excellence in education; inculcating good social and cultural values; adopting good management and governance practices in business.
President of Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and IndustryThe Chamber, Datuk Mutang Tagal said, the Chamber was a platform for Orang Ulu entrepreneurs, and professionals to share ideas, resources for mutual benefits and for the benefit of the Orang Ulu communities.
“The Chamber will liaise and engage with the state and federal governments, their ministries, agencies, departments, on behalf of its members in all matters relating to trade, industries and commerce,” he said at the Launching of the Orang Ulu Chamber Of Commerce and Industry at Waterfront Hotel, here today.
“The Chamber will work and cooperate with other business Chambers, trade associations having the same aspiration as the Chamber to achieve mutual objectives and benefits,” Mustang said.
He said, the Chamber will conduct talks, workshops, seminars and training, retraining and upskilling for its members to assist them in their business. Having the right and positive mindsets and attitudes; right kind of skill sets and adequate financial resources are keys to a successful enterprise.
“Our fledgling Orang Ulu entrepreneurs can only be successful, given our deprived backgrounds, with some or maybe more assistance from the State Government,” he said.
The Chamber, he said, therefore urge the state government through the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to consider and, if fit, to grant the followings:
To appoint qualified and experienced Orang Ulu professionals to sit on the Boards of State Government Linked Companies (SGLCs) and their subsidiaries, such as SEDC, LCDA, STIDC, Yayasan Sarawak, SALCRA, BDA, LAKU, PETROS, SEB, HDC, STB, SMA, Recoda and others.
To set aside and allocate 30% or more of the RM1.5 billion sum given to each of the three state development agencies; namely, Upper Rejang Development Agency (URDA); Highland Development Agency (HDA); and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) to the Orang Ulu Contractors, Consultants and business community through the Chamber. Some of the Chamber Contractors bidded and tendered for contracts issued out by Recoda within the last few years, but unfortunately none of these Chamber contractors succeeded in these open tenders. They are yet to taste the ‘low hanging fruits’ resulting from these transformational initiatives.
To upgrade the telecommunication infrastructure, wifi, internet connectivity in the rural areas to accelerate and intensify online business and education learning which are fundamental to equip rural communities to prosper and compete globally in a digital economy. We look forward to the day when the Penans in the jungles of Murum or Mulu succeed in selling their intricately woven mats and bags direct on the internet through E-commerce to some buyers in Europe.
4.) Ensure government universities, such as Unimas and UITM, set a minimum allotment for Orang Ulu students to be offered and accepted to highly sought courses. It is generally observed that East Malaysians are left with “leftovers” and unwanted courses in our public universities.
Ensure private universities, such as Swinburne & Curtin offer their programmes at an attractively discounted fee to encourage participation and to make tertiary education attainable to all Orang Ulu students.
5.) Establish more food baskets and handicraft terminals in the rural areas. Local industries such as crops farming and handcrafters will have a platform to market their products. This, in turn, would help to support and further encourage the development of these industries.
6.) Sarawak Civil Service to employ more Orang Ulu professionals and support staff to be inclusive in the state administration.
7.) Allocation of a suitable State land within the prime area in Kuching for the setting up of OUCCI headquarters and some other commercial development, similar to other chamber of commerce buildings in Kuching.
8. To set up more collection centres for handicraft and tourism related products at each long houses or village clusters to facilitate easy marketing; A comprehensive physical and digital marketing infrastructure and network is needed to enhance production of food baskets from these areas.
9. To set up more agro processing centres at each long houses or village clusters in order to encourage more business and economic opportunities among the community.
10. To set up Agropolis or sub-tropical agro tourism clusters in the highlands. In Sabah, they have Kundasang; in Malaya, Cameron Highlands; in Sarawak we have Meligan and Kelabit Highlands which we can develop as integrated highland food baskets for the State.