KUCHING: With its rich natural resources, Sarawak could emerge as a key hub in regional cooperation and economic integration, said Environment and Natural Resources Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He said the true opportunity for Sarawak’s future was to change the idea of progress to prove that its people and natural resources could have tremendous potential to prosper together.
“This is the key to ensuring the continued rise of Sarawak… the big idea which will be our lasting legacy to generations yet unborn,” he said when officiating at the 2nd Sarawak Business and Investment Summit here yesterday.
“It is my conviction that with the support and cooperation of the state and federal government, domestic and international corporation sectors, civil societies and think tank, Sarawak not only can realise its full development potential but can also play an important role as key hubs in the region,” he added.
Towards that end, he said the physical infrastructure development, renewable energy, agro-based industries and trade and people-centred development must be at its core so that there is prosperity for all Sarawakians.
Wan Junaidi said it was also important to support basic vocational skills development so that more Sarawakian rural communities could take advantage of the state’s construction and infrastructure agenda.
He also touched on converting natural resources into development asset, saying that Sarawak is one of the most petroleum-reliant nations in the region, and that the financial revenues from the oil reserves in the South China Sea had grown.
He said by wisely using this revenue, the government should do more to secure future growth, adding that Sarawak needed to strengthen its functioning productivity sector that could supply enough basic inputs, and the imports of goods and services have therefore continued to grow.
“These are the large challenges but they also present opportunities to future strengthen and build durable economic foundations that diversify the economic base, and to target sectors such as agri-business, fisheries, tourism and petrochemicals that can generate productivity employment among the locals. — Bernama