KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg wants to ensure that Sarawak’s economy would be strengthened and be sustainable in earning bigger revenues in years to come to support its administration and development programmes.
In this respect, he points out that this is the reason behind the Sarawak government coming out with the largest budget in its history, which includes the imposition of five per cent sales tax on petroleum products meant for exports and the 70 per cent allocation for development, particularly in the rural areas where many Sarawakians are in need of treated water and electricity supply.
“A record budget that we have (for) this year should assure our business community of an expansionary policy.
“We are not cutting down on projects; instead, we increase them and therefore, we can expect an increase in public spending on developing the infrastructure and amenities, which should open up more opportunities to our business people in the construction and engineering sectors,” he said at a Chinese New Year gathering hosted by Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) at hotel here on Friday night.
His text-of-speech was read out by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.
Adding on, Abang Johari said to ensure that all development projects and programmes slated for Sarawak would materialise as planned, the unity of Sarawakians could not be overemphasised.
“Without the continuous unity of Sarawakians, Sarawak’s progress towards achieving a developed status by 2030 would be jeopardised.”
Apart from that, Abang Johari also said the key to prosperity of the Sarawak economy would be the involvement of local entrepreneurs.
In this respect, he said the Sarawak government would step up efforts in promoting entrepreneurship and investment among Sarawakians, who are keen to help Sarawak in its transformation towards becoming an industrialised and digitalised economy.
“Of course, foreign investments are very important for us as well, because we do not have enough capital and we do not have the technology (and) the skills to manage big industries, and also the knowledge about the market for all these products,
“It is the foreign multinational companies investing in Sarawak that would transfer the skills, the knowledge and the technology – new technologies in particular – to us, with the hope that one day, we would be able to stand on our own feet,” he said.
Abang Johari also observed that associations like ACCCIS, and the Chinese community as a whole, had contributed significantly towards the development of Sarawak’s economic development.
“Our state is what it is today because of the contributions from the business community, in particular, the Chinese business community because they are very dynamic in many ways, and ready to adopt new ways of doing business, as well as new methods of producing goods for the market.
“I am very confident that our Chinese friends would continue supporting the government’s efforts towards strengthening our economic position with their resources, as well as domestic and international influences and networking,” he said.
Abang Johari also pointed out that the private sector would remain the biggest contributor to the development of Sarawak’s economy.
As such, he assured this sector that the Sarawak government was willing to listen to the needs of the local business community and take steps to enhance the ease of doing business in Sarawak like doing away with many red tapes and unnecessary procedures.
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, Consul-General of China in Kuching Cheng Guangzhong and ACCIS officials were among the guests.