KUCHING (July 22): Sarawak has launched its Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, aspiring to be a thriving society driven by data and innovation to enjoy economic prosperity, social inclusivity and sustainable environment.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who launched the PCDS 2030 in conjunction with Sarawak Day 2021, said Sarawak needs to double the size of the economy from RM136 billion in 2019 to RM282 billion in 2030.
“To achieve this target, Sarawak economy needs to grow on average six to eight per cent per annum until 2030. Inclusive society means that all Sarawakians will have equal opportunities to participate in the state’s overall development and enjoy equitable distribution of wealth through jobs and business opportunities.
“Environmental sustainability is an integral part of Sarawak development initiatives. This is to ensure a clean and healthy environment for current and future generations.
“Moving forward, Sarawak will innovate using data to increase productivity, develop high value products, improve safety of our people and assets as well as enhance environmental conservation efforts,” he said.
Abang Johari said the core objectives of the PCDS 2030 are to change the economic structure, to modernise and increase efficiency, to increase household income to gross domestic product (GDP) share and to place environmental sustainability in the state’s recovery efforts and long-term economic growth.
He said the PCDS 2030 comes with seven strategic thrusts, and is anchored on six economic sectors as the main engines of growth, which will be supported by seven enablers.
Abang Johari said Sarawak needs to change the economic structure by increasing the scale of production to capture efficiencies upstream, increasing downstream activities and growing the services sector to support the primary and secondary sectors’ activities in a sustainable manner.
“PCDS 2030 is also aimed to modernise and increase efficiency driven by both digital and physical connectivity; to increase household income to GDP share by creating more jobs and encouraging entrepreneurship;
“Currently, more and more investors are placing greater importance on environmental sustainability when making investment decisions. We have seen a wave of shareholder activism for environmental efforts and all sectors must find ways to transit to a low carbon future.
“As such, our emphasis on environmental sustainability will pave the way for more investment inflow to Sarawak that will co-create solutions, more green jobs and business opportunities to drive our economy on a sustainable manner. Such collective action is crucial as we face the defining crisis of our generation – climate change,” he added.
The seven strategic thrusts to accelerate the economic development are as follows:
(a) Transforming Sarawak into a competitive economy by increasing productivity level, developing more high value downstream activities and creating new industries through active private sector involvement. For example, precision farming to increase quantity and quality of produce for high value downstream food processing products for domestic consumption and export market.
(b) Improving ease of doing business to facilitate domestic investment (DDI) and making Sarawak an investment destination of choice for foreign investors (FDI). For example, by establishing Sarawak Invest as a one-stop agency for investment.
(c) Spending on areas that yield the most economic, social and environmental impact. For example, environmental-friendly construction (design and materials) of access road to social and economic hubs that will stimulate socio-economic activities and improve standard of living of the community.
(d) Optimising use of assets and government funding and developing human capital to support socio-economic development. For example, rather than constructing new buildings, Sarawak should optimise the use of existing building spaces for productive activities. Human capital investment should focus on the right training to meet industrial needs of the state to progress.
(e) Accelerating digital adoption and data utilisation to generate outcomes. This will include establishing a state-wide network coverage of telecommunication infrastructure and services that will enable the adoption of digital technology in agriculture for precision farming, industry 4.0, e-learning and telemedicine to support Sarawak’s digital economy initiatives towards high income and developed state by 2030.
(f) Driving economic and social benefits for all Sarawakians, focusing on impoverished segment of the population. This include providing the society with access to basic infrastructure and implementing concerted initiatives to help increase household income. For example, anchor out-grower model in the agriculture sector to help rural poor to gain better access to market and training programmes for urban poor to cultivate entrepreneurship.
(g) Balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability. Sarawak aims to balance economic growth with a responsible approach towards utilisation of natural resources and integration of climate adaptation and mitigation plans. This approach prioritises the sustainable use of land and ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the land and ocean ecosystem.
“In line with sustainable development principles and commitments towards climate adaptation, various initiatives will be implemented such as to maintain more than 50 per cent forest and tree cover, establish an integrated watershed management policy to conserve and protect water resources, increase urban green spaces and prioritise green mobility solutions, including developing electric vehicle (EV) based public transport systems and expansion of renewable energy,” pointed out the chief minister.
Abang Johari said the PCDS 2030 is anchored on six economic sectors as the main engines of growth namely manufacturing, commercial agriculture, tourism, forestry, mining and social services.
According to him, the manufacturing sector aims to promote Sarawak as the preferred investment destination especially for high-value downstream activities of resource and non-resource-based industries, both DDI and FDI.
This will be supported by the development of efficient ecosystem for private investment such as industrial parks equipped with industrial infrastructures and amenities.
Among the initiatives include the development of Petrochemical Hub, extension of Samajaya Hi-Tech Park, Bio-Industrial Park and Furniture Park.
“Sarawak aspires to be a net food exporter by 2030. This will be achieved through commercial agriculture sector that capitalises on modern farming and global partnerships.
“Commercial agriculture will attract private investment to accelerate the productivity and growth in this sector that will provide valuable feedstock to higher value-add downstream food processing, especially for export market,” said Abang Johari.
Among the key initiatives are developing agro-parks, high value downstream products such as oleochemical and smart farming programmes.
He asserted that tourism is a key sector in driving Sarawak’s visibility and branding around the world.
By 2030, he said Sarawak aims to be a leading destination for eco-tourism and business events in Asean region, driven by empowered communities to conserve heritage, culture and biodiversity and to promote investment and development in the tourism sector.
“More tourism products and assets will be developed, supported by increased connectivity and capacity building of local tourism players.
“Sarawak will promote culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals and diversify Sarawak’s tourism focus into health tourism, sport tourism, agro-tourism and education tourism. These initiatives are expected to increase the number of visitors by 7.5 per cent per annum,” he said.
Abang Johari said sustainable approaches to monetise Sarawak’s rich resources will be implemented to provide economic opportunities for the rural communities.
The initiatives include replanting of 200,000 hectares of degraded forest areas, implement Carbon Credits Programmes, establish bamboo plantation and develop bamboo-based industry and certification of 4.5 million hectares of long-term forest licence area (natural forest) by 2022 and 178,000 hectares forest plantation by 2025 under Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme and Forest Stewardship Council.
Moving forward, he said Sarawak will explore into other mineral resources such as silica sand, rare earth elements (REE) and kaolin clay for high value downstream activities.
To support this development, the state will develop geological mapping to provide details such as location, reserve volume and grades of the minerals and design business models to facilitate investments in mining industry and downstream processing.
He said the state government wants to establish a firm foundation for the people to recover from the devastation caused to their lives and livelihood in the fight against Covid-19.
Under the social services sector, Sarawak aims to provide a high living standard, healthy and inclusive society with affordable and innovative service delivery for Sarawakians.
Among the key initiatives are poverty alleviation programmes, social welfare programmes such as SarawakCare Insurance, Construction of State Research and Test Lab, new Normah Medical Specialist, special needs welfare services and housing schemes.
Abang Johari said the six economic sectors will be supported by seven enablers namely digital transformation, innovation, basic infrastructure, transport, utilities, renewable energy and education and human capital development.
Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, and Sarawak’s digital transformation will empower Sarawak economic sectors to increase its efficiencies and productivity.
The initiatives include digitalisation of private sector economy through Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain technologies.
The efforts will be further supported by digitalisation of public service delivery and infrastructure.
At the same time, Sarawak will build the digital economy ecosystem to attract new industries focusing on international standard data centres, digital content creation and boosting digital innovation and entrepreneurship for digital startups.
“Leveraging on Sarawak’s natural resources, innovation will focus on developing research and development (R&D) capabilities and commercial applications aligned to biotechnology, digital applications and renewable energy.
“Innovation ecosystem development such as Bio-industrial Park, Digital Testbed and Living Labs, Bio-Hub Port and Venture Capital Funds will attract more private sector to invest in R&D in Sarawak,” he said.
On basic infrastructure development, he said efforts will be focused towards providing reliable access to social and economic hubs to meet the short-term needs and preparing the foundation for future growth.
The infrastructure development will also provide new opportunities and unlock economic potentials especially in the rural areas, hence promote inclusive development.
The major initiatives are the development of Second Trunk Road, Coastal Road Network, Urban Road Expansions, Deep Sea Ports and Free (Industrial) Zones around Deep Sea Ports.
“With better mobility and transportation options, the productivity level will increase and open the opportunities for Sarawakians to have access to quality jobs in business centres and economic hubs such as Industrial Parks, plantation areas and tourism spots.
“The major initiatives include development of Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS), Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), terminal expansions of Kuching and Sibu airports, international flights connectivity and installation of Aids to Navigation (ATON),” said Abang Johari.
According to him, the utility sector is an enabler to catalyse the state’s socio-economic development.
The key initiatives for utility development in Sarawak are water and electricity supply projects to achieve 100 per cent coverage, development of Pan Sarawak Gas Pipeline to promote industrial development and Single Water Entity to improve efficiency.
“Sarawak aspires to become a regional powerhouse through affordable, reliable and renewable energy, contributing to sustainable growth and prosperity.
“Aligned to this aspiration, Sarawak will maintain at least 60 per cent of its generation capacity mix from renewable sources and generate 15 per cent of renewable energy sector income from foreign markets,” he said.
He added that among the initiatives to promote renewable energy are Sarawak hydrogen economy, 50MW Floating Solar, mini hydro projects and Electric Vehicles.
On education, he said the establishment of strategic partnership with industries and stakeholders will prepare the state’s human capital to match its current and future job requirements as well as to address disparity in quality education.
The key initiatives include the formation of Human Capital Development Council and strengthening Sarawak Workforce Information System (SWIS) to identify and close the workforce demand-supply gap, establishment of Science Centre to cultivate and increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and development of five international schools to cater for bright rural students.
“The development of six economic sectors which is supported by seven enablers will position Sarawak as an attractive investment destination. This will increase value and quality of investment in Sarawak.
“The value from private investment to GDP will increase from RM21 billion last year to RM61.5 billion in 2030 or an increase of 11.2 per cent per annum. The share of private investment to GDP in 2030 will be 21.9 per cent,” he added.