BINTULU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised five key areas to the business communities during the ‘Business Dialogue’ session hosted by Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in Bintulu yesterday.
The five areas digital technology, infrastructure development, talent development, market access and the role of the private sector.
“The economy has transformed from conventional to digital. I’m sure you know that the whole world is transforming from the normal economic profile to a new profile based on technology.
“China has transformed and developed based on infrastructure technology,” said Abang Johari.
He said Sarawak’s economy must go digital to meet its manpower need of being a vast state with a small population.
Abang Johari said the state cannot solely depend on foreign workers whose presence could also cause social problems.
“We have to automate in terms of production, and being a vast state with small population, we want high productivity, we have to go towards digital and automation,” he said.
The chief minister added that infrastructure development will strengthen the base for digital economy while power is vital for the development of the economy.
“When I took over from Adenan, the first thing that I did was to convince the then prime minister, to give back Bakun, I negotiated for RM2.5 billion for Sarawak to take over Bakun.
“At the moment I want to increase the turbine in Bakun, one more turbine that will generate additional 300 megawatts.”
Abang Johari said Sarawak must ensure there is piped water supply to every part of the state through the completion of its water grid.
“It cost RM2.8 billion to do this infrastructure, I managed to find the model how to get the money, it is all Sarawak fund and nothing to do with federal,” he said.
Road connectivity is needed for logistic and Sarawak he said has the Pan Borneo highway that would enhance the logistics in the interior of Sarawak,
However, the development of talent must be in tandem with the development of infratsructure and facilities he added.
“Talent means people who know about IT, technology, engineering, cyber engineering, and these are the people who can move our economy towards digital.”
The chief minister also called on the private sector to adapt to the changes in the economy.
“We want to change the whole approach of business, the whole approach of our economic development, meaning the emphasis is on technology and infrastructure,” he said.
Also present at the dialogue were Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Assistant Minister of Native Law and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai, SCCI president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg, SCCI Bintulu region vice president Temenggong Datuk Barry Yek, Bintulu Resident Jack Aman Luat and Bintulu Development Authority general manager Rodziah Morshidi.