KUCHING, Nov 3: Sarawak’s first state-owned bank, Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS), will be operational in Jan 2018 with a paid up capital of RM500 million.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said DBOS which was incorporated on May 11, 2017, will be the way forward for the state through the provision of facilities like term loans, bridging loans, revolving credit facilities for working capital financing, loan syndication and bank guarantee.
“It belongs to all Sarawakians for the benefit of all Sarawakians,” said Abang Johari who stressed that “business is not as usual for us anymore”.
“I believe that Sarawak needs to come up with a new model that will help us to raise funds to finance strategic development projects.
“Sarawak needs to speed up its development and we cannot wait for our budget allocations, state or federal, to be sufficient because it will never be sufficient,” said Abang Johari at the launch of DBOS at a hotel here today.
He said Sarawak is fortunate to have a substantial amount of reserves due to the financial prudence of previous chief ministers such as Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
“A big reserve is good but too big a reserve is also not good because we do not use our money to invest and boost domestic consumption.
“Economists know that if we don’t use our reserves to invest, there are also costs which are called opportunity costs, meaning cost of lost opportunities because we do nothing to our money.
“What I mean to say is that there is a need to ensure a balance between our reserves and our investment without depleting our reserves and this is the primary role DBOS,” he said.
He expressed the view that the state government may park its money in various banks which in turn will charge interest if the state were to borrow from these banks.
“Borrowing money from the banks with our money inside and being charged interest sounds stupid,” said Abang Johari.
He said the government will venture into a number of strategic projects to expedite development in Sarawak which would be financed through the service of DBOS.
“We have learnt from some developed countries that they owe much of their success to their ability to use their own home-grown resources. This is exactly what we want to do with the setting up of DBOS.
“Our focus would be on infrastructure development, development in the oil and gas industry, renewable energy, urban transport, telecommunication, digital economy, healthcare and integrated agriculture,” he said.
DBOS will also play a major role in the Light Rail Transit system or LRT urban transportation programme.
“The opposition used to label me as ‘hot-air’ when I announced that we want to build a light rail transit system or LRT to connect Kuching with its periphery.
“They only want to discredit me and gain political mileage but LRT is an urban transportation system that a city like Kuching must have as part of its modernisation programme.
“We are going to build the LRT on the ground and not above the ground as in Kuala Lumpur which will substantially reduced the costs and on top of it all, we want to make our LRT emission-free.”
He said the state was considering hydrogen powered trains like those developed in Germany. — DayakDaily