MIRI: Sarawak and Sabah have strategic advantage and strength in the BIMP-Eaga region to tap into Borneo as the new epicentre of international investments arising from the relocation of Indonesia’s capital.
In stating this, vice-chairman of Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Datuk Mutang Tagal, said the relocation of Indonesia’s capital from Java to East Kalimantan by 2024 will propel Sarawak and Sabah as gateways to the vast natural resources at Kalimantan in Indonesia.
This would make Borneo a thriving hub for business, nature and leisure for the region. The BIMP-Eaga economic grouping will flourish and prosper in the decades to come, he added.
He said Borneo as an island will become an epicentre for marine biodiversity with its beautiful reefs, impressive marine life, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, manta ray and many more, and will be home to lush forest reserves with its rich plant and animal species, flora and fauna, birds and mammal species such as orang utan and the likes.
“The next decade will propel Borneo as the new investment hub for international investors,” he added.
He concurred with economists’ views that the proposal by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in parliament on the ‘Look to Borneo’ idea will ultimately benefit the nation.
Mutang, a former Bukit Mas MP with business interests in oil and gas industry, tourism and construction, said Sarawak and Sabah make up 60 per cent of Malaysia’s size but only 20.3 per cent of its total population of 32 million and both states have firm economic foundations anchored on their rich and abundant natural resources such as land, water, forestry, petroleum and gas, oil palm, rubber, cocoa, copra, mining, quarrying and abundant marine resources.
He said both are moving towards an integrated natural resource management of their rich natural resources by moving into a digital economy to ensure a cleaner environment, thereby adopting a sustainable development approach based on science and technology.
The key to sustainable economic development model for the two states in the long run, he added, is to place emphasis on value added and downstream processing of its scarce, depleting natural resources.
He further said the states offer potential investors ample business opportunities in a wide range of resource based industries such as timber, wood, agro-based food processing and petroleum and gas.
There are also opportunities in biotechnology, agriculture, eco tourism, advanced ceramics due to their very rich biodiversity, impressive marine life, natural beauty and abundant silica sand, coal and high quality kaolinitic granite and ball clay deposits, he added.
Sarawak’s Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE) and Sabah’s Development Corridor (SDC) provide planned and designated industrial zones for the further industrialisation of the states, he elaborated.
The two states, he said, are also rolling out very attractive and competitive investment packages to potential international and domestic investors such as electricity tariffs, advanced digital infrastructure, efficient and speedy logistics, various tax incentives and many more.
A lawyer by training, he said existing and new legislations are being amended to protect the states’ rights under the federal and state constitutions and at the same time protect the investments of investors.
He believes that quantum leap strategic investment in key areas of the two states will propel them to developed states status by 2030 with gross domestic product per capita increased, poverty eradicated, creation of new jobs, capacity building and upskilling of their human resources in tow.