Sunday, September 22

Sarawak remains top investment destination


Adenan confident state will continue to draw investments locally and foreign investors

Masing hitting the gong to officially open the forum, witnessed by (from right) Yeoh, Wan Azhar, Mohd Rafidz and Dr K Govindan. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

Masing hitting the gong to officially open the forum, witnessed by (from right) Yeoh, Wan Azhar, Mohd Rafidz and Dr K Govindan. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Sarawak is focused on building a right physical ecosystem to strengthen and safeguard its position as one of the favourite investment destinations for both domestic and foreign investors.

In stating this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem pointed out that the state was on track to become a very important regional development corridor as it had consistently performed well in attracting investments, both foreign and domestic.

“Sarawak today is a vibrant and developing state with its economy among the most diversified in the country. With various sub-sectors contributing double digit growth Sarawak is a state with great vigour,” he said in his

address at the inaugural Development Bank Infrastructure Forum at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

His text of speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.

The Chief Minister also said Sarawak has become one of the top investment destinations in Malaysia, attracting total investments of RM11.9 billion in 2015, second after Johor.

“Sarawak is the third largest state in Malaysia by contribution of GDP in 2014 with a GDP of RM102 billion, after Selangor (RM238 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (RM160 billion) and is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, timber and palm oil, just to name a few,” he said.

“We grow and modernise at a rapid pace in line with the goal laid out in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he added.

State has great potential in tourism, agriculture, communications sectors

Adenan also said besides leading in the oil and gas and energy sector, the state held great potential in other areas that have thus far remained largely underdeveloped such as the tourism, communications, infrastructure and the agriculture sectors.

“Our industrialisation programme is spearheaded by the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which covers a vast area in central Sarawak and leveraging on the rich source of natural resources and relatively cheaper hydro-power,” he pointed out.

“Estimated to attract over RM300 billion worth of investments by 2030, SCORE will be the engine of our economic growth until 2030,” he added.

However, he admitted that it would be a monumental task to develop the state’s infrastructure due to its huge size.

“We know that to accelerate the industrialisation process of Sarawak, the state must first provide the right ecosystem to attract investment,” he said, referring to growth enablers such as roads, airports, ports, utilities including water and electricity, telecommunications and ICT that must be made available to facilitate business and investment activities.

Adenan acknowledged that many rural areas in the state were still largely deprived of basic needs such as roads, water and electricity supply and accessibility to healthcare and education.

“This led to the recent establishment of the Sarawak Socio-Economic Transformation Programme (SETP), a long term perspective plan over the next 25 years with the primary objective of realising Sarawak’s aspirations to become an economic powerhouse,” he said.

He said the state made it a point that all programmes and projects with multiplier effects were implemented on schedule to benefit the people, promote economic inclusiveness particularly in the rural areas and increase connectivity.

“We believe the much-awaited multi-billion ringgit Pan Borneo Highway stretching about 1,000 km from Sematan to Lawas will be a game-changer to the economy of Sarawak,” he said.

“It is not only a highway that will provide an efficient transportation system for us in Sarawak but is also expected to trigger the growth of other sectors like what the North South Highway did to Peninsular Malaysia,” he added.

He also said developing the state’s infrastructure not only requires a substantial amount of public assistance but also requires participation from the private sector and financial institutions.

“I hope this forum would open door for meaningful engagement and collaboration between the public and private sectors, the BPMB included, to drive the infrastructure development programme in Sarawak,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the one-day event, jointly organised by Malaysia Development Bank (BPMB), CIMB Group Holdings Berhad and RAM Rating Services Berhad, was dedicated to explore and debate challenges, opportunities and economic benefits of infrastructure in Sarawak as well as to seek ways to mobilise infrastructure funding for the state.

The unique forum drew some 100 participants from various private and government agencies including senior government officials, policymakers, financial institutions, business leaders, community leaders and sector experts.

Also present were BPMB Board of Directors member Datuk Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, its president and Group managing director Mohd Rafidz Ahmed Rasiddi and its executive vice president (Business and Investment Banking) Zainul Hashim, as well as RAM Holdings Berhad Group CEO and executive director Datuk Seri Dr K Govindan and CIMB Investment Bank Berhad managing director and deputy head of Regional Debt Capital Markets Yeoh Phee Leong.