Sarawak critical frontier in growth of M’sian economy, Japanese investors told
Posted on July 4, 2012, Wednesday
KUCHING: Sarawak is certainly the critical frontier for the further growth of the Malaysian economy, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud told Japanese investors attending a seminar on Investment and Business Opportunities in Tanjung Manis Halal Hub held at Mitsubishi Corporation in Tokyo, Japan yesterday.
He also told them that the state had been enjoying political stability for a long time, and assured them that the state had a strong government that offered legal certainty and economic opportunity.
“I can assure you that Sarawak can offer all those. I have ensured that the government and its machinery will continuously work hard to maintain the state’s political stability and promote economic growth,” he said.
Sarawak, he said, now had a strong economy and had been able to achieve a steady average annual growth rate of five per cent while GDP per capita income was more than USD12,500.
Apart from that, he added, the state was rich in flora and fauna, and had the most extensive biodiversity in the world.
“We preserve our forests, ensuring that at least 84.1 per cent of all lands in Sarawak remain under forest cover. This is far more than most countries throughout the world can do,” he said.
On timber, which had been and continued to be a major source of income for the state, he said the timber industry followed strict rules and regulations to maintain the sustainability of the forests.
“As most of you have been aware, Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia. It is about half the size of Honshu Island and possesses a long coastline, abundant natural resources, an extensive river system, huge tracts of peat lands and unspoilt and well-conserved tropical rainforest,” he said.
The chief minister said the state’s huge size with a relatively small population of 2.5 million had posed a challenge to the government but it would continue to strive to bring a better life to the people.
One of the ways, he said, was through the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which he explained was the key to the state’s future development, citing the development of renewable energy as the catalyst for its industrial growth and economic development.
He also told them Sarawak was a major producer of oil and gas in Malaysia.
“The state has the geographical size and abundant natural resources to contribute to the sustainable growth of our national economy as we move towards achieving the status of a high income economy by the year 2020,” he said.
On SCORE, he said its uniqueness was that it aimed to bring the state to new frontiers that would help provide more knowledge and skills, generate higher incomes and create more wealth and prosperity to the people.
He also said under SCORE many areas would be opened up for development, such as Samalaju, Tanjung Manis, Mukah and the interior regions.
To the audience, he told them what was most attractive about SCORE was the availability of cheap and reliable hydroelectric power that would make it attractive to investors.
The chief minister also said in order climb up the economic value chain, the state was now moving towards the forefront of technological innovation and value-added production to be able to compete at the regional and global levels.
Among the Japanese companies already investing in the state, he told them, were Taiyo Yuden and Toko Electronic and more recently Tokuyama, Sojitz Corporation, JFE Shoji Trade Corporation and Japan Silicon with total investments of RM7.28 billion.
On the seminar, Taib said it was a very ideal platform to promote the business opportunities available in SCORE, particularly in Tanjung Manis Halal Hub.