As part of a holistic approach to bring more development to rural areas, the state government has mapped out more infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges to provide connectivity and accessibility for the people there.
Recognising the barriers in traditional funding models to fund such projects, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg formed the Development Bank of Sarawak Berhad (DBOS) to provide alternative funding for these projects.
DBOS is not a commercial bank but a development finance institute tasked by the state government with the mandate to develop and promote certain sectors deemed of strategic importance to the state’s overall long-term socio-economic objectives.
At its heart, DBOS was established to complement existing banking institutions by supplying financial services to commercially viable state-targeted strategic sectors projects and promoting economic growth in Sarawak.
Abang Johari said, “It is (for) funding our basic infrastructure especially the road and also for the (projects in) Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA) , Highland Development Agency (HDA), Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) and not (for) dams.
“Only roads, water supply and electricity, including bridges,” he pointed out.
He noted that developed countries like Germany, Japan and Singapore also formed their own development banks in the past for their economic development. Singapore’s development bank was called DBS with similar modelling.
DBOS is thus positioned to be a significant medium through which funding can be channeled to where it is needed the most, to support Abang Johari’s vision of transforming Sarawak’s economy.
Bringing vision to reality
The many socio-economic benefits of Sarawak having a financial institution such as DBOS is not lost on community and business leaders.
“Yang Amat Berhormat Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s vision is vast. And one of the initiatives that he has announced is the establishment of DBOS which can assist him in realising his vision for Sarawak,” said Plaza Merdeka Holdings Sdn Bhd’s managing director Datuk Steve Ng.
“He wants to transform Sarawak in a way that no other leader has done before. This is not to say that other leaders are any lesser but rather YAB CM is a person at a time in our history which is unprecedented.
“With the transformation of the world via digitalisation, specifically the borderless digital economy, YAB CM is focused on the future of Sarawak for all Sarawakians.
“His commitment to prioritise investment in digital infrastructure and human resources will benefit Sarawak.
“The next two to three years will be an eye opener for everyone with the deployment of 5G technology which will enable transformation on a level which we cannot conceive and predict but must be ready for.
“This 5G transformation with its capabilities combined with another transformative technology namely artificial intelligence (AI) will result in a total game changer.
“I believe this is what YAB CM sees and he wants to help all Sarawakians to be ready and participate, change and adapt to the new operating environment so that we will all benefit from it,” Ng said.
Mapping our own destiny
Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Sim Kiang Chiok, who is also a corporate figure and Kuching Chinese community leader observed: “Our Chief Minister is making all the brave, smart and correct moves to protect our rights and to increase our revenues to fund development and to improve Sarawak’s social-economic wellbeing so it can reach developed state status by setting up the DBOS and Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Berhad).
“It was set up by to assist the Sarawak government to raise funding for development. The Sarawak government has much reserves to the tune of RM30 billion.
“If DBOS was not set up, our reserves will be deposited into other banks in Malaysia and we would be losing the profit opportunity in earning interest and creating employment if we were running our bank.
“With the setting up of DBOS, the state government would be able raise funds for our own development use instead of having to wait for sufficient funds in our saving of our reserves to invest in development or always having to wait for federal funding.
“Our infrastructure development would be able to be fast-tracked for the benefit of Sarawakians,” Sim opined.
He outlined that DBOS would be able to raise funding through the international money market to fund viable infrastructure, modern technology, agriculture and other projects to further industrialise Sarawak into a developed state.
This in turn will create more economic activities and spin-offs in business and employment opportunities to benefit all Sarawakians.
Sim said that DBOS was tasked with carrying out commercial activities with the proposed sources of funding from grants received from the state government, capital injections from DBOS’ holding company, government deposits, future deposits from government-linked companies, or even from fundraising exercises by way of bank borrowings or capital market instruments.
He pointed out that DBOS was a banking institution with its licence issued by Bank Negara Malaysia, so DBOS is highly regulated and monitored as with any other banks or financial institutions in Malaysia.
He believed that with DBOS, Sarawak could expedite its development through the utilisation of the state’s own financial resources and provide solutions to some of the funding issues from the federal government.
Hence, with prudent financial management and strong reserves of more than RM30 billion as well as various development plans and projects in the pipeline, Sarawak under Abang Johari’s leadership is making all the right moves in order to bring Sarawak to achieve developed state status by 2030.
Since helming Sarawak, Abang Johari has come up with 81 initiatives.
The 81 initiatives encompass various aspects of building up Sarawak, such as regaining Sarawak’s lost rights, leapfrogging the state’s digital and technological development as well as revenue re-engineering, injecting funds to boost infrastructure in rural areas, fair religious and racial policies and many others. — DayakDaily