CM: Resource-rich Sarawak can be a trading state

Posted on : 06 Sep 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (seated) performs the launch gimmick for Sarawak Export 2019. With him are (from left) Mussen, Mohd Naroden, Mohd Asfia, Awang Tengah (third right), Lee (second right) and others. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: Sarawak, despite its small population of 2.8 million, has what it takes to become a trading state in Malaysia as it has a large land mass and is rich in resources, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The chief minister said the government is doing its part by putting in place the needed infrastructure and also preparing the people to be part of the global market.

“In terms of resources, we have minerals and hydropower. We also have trainable manpower, our young people who can be trained.

“This can be developed to add value to them. Once it’s done, we will have comparative advantage to compete with other nations,” he said when launching Sarawak Export Day 2019, here yesterday.

He assured there will be continued emphasis on upgrading basic infrastructure across the state as well as improving internet connectivity to allow rural entrepreneurs to market their products online.

Abang Johari also said Sarawak is positioning itself to play a more active role in the global trading market, and believed the state would do well in trading in the Asean and Asean+3 region, which includes China, Korea and Japan.

“I’m sure we can meet the demand of the market. Food, for one, we have ample land to turn into food-producing areas. From Sarikei to Betong, we turn these areas into a food basket. We are now building a lot of bridges and upgrading our coastal road in those areas,” he said.

He further mentioned that the state could see the creation of more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in line with the effort of becoming a trading state.

However, he said the government could only provide the infrastructure – roads, bridges and digital connectivity – and that it boiled down to the business sector to market their products.

“The SMEs have to identify and meet the market demand while the government provides and upgrades a lot of infrastructure.

“The government is there to provide facilities and efficient services; the rest is up to the business community,” he added.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, assistant ministers of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and Malcolm Mussen, and State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar were among those present at the event.