Asean businesses urged to leverage Sarawak’s strengths

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (second right) presenting a souvenir to Abang Johari (right).

KUCHING, Sept 5: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg calls on the Asean business community to take advantage of Sarawak’s strengths to ensure successful trade and business.

He pinpointed one of Sarawak’s strengths as the export business because the state has a huge landmass of about 124,000 square km with a small population of about 2.8 million while having an abundance of natural resources such as minerals, hydropower, and oil and gas.

“In other words, the domestic market is very small but (the state has a) big landmass. Sarawak’s strength is also in terms of its resources. We have the mineral resources as well as hydropower.

“That is part and parcel of the ‘locomotive’ for you to move forward (on),” Abang Johari said when delivering his keynote address during the Sarawak Export Day 2019 event here this morning.

On top of natural resources, he said Sarawak also has a high population of youth who are very trainable, and who can be a source of manpower for industries to prosper in Sarawak.

This would give an added competitive advantage for industries, entrepreneurs and businesses here to compete with the other trading states or nations in terms of positioning themselves in the global marketplace, he said.

Abang Johari added, that at the same time, the state government is actively upgrading and expanding basic infrastructure, particularly road connectivity throughout the state, mainly through the “food basket” areas from Betong to Sarikei.

This, he said, should be something to look forward to especially for agricultural industry players who are keen to try out new and modern technologies in their operations.

“The state government is now giving emphasis to improving our basic infrastructure. We are connecting our rural economy with a good road network. Apart from our Pan Borneo Highway, we are also building our Coastal Highway that will open up the land (along it) and will also propel the development of our agricultural activities.

“As you know, we have a good reservoir of biodiversity resources, and with that reservoir of biodiversity resources we are giving emphasis on R&D (research and development). Perhaps we can produce some other products that are marketable worldwide especially in healthcare.

“In other words, once this infrastructure is put in place, I think you can have all the products that you can sell overseas, meaning the trade volume in terms of export will increase through diversification of our economic base, as well as in terms of strengthening our infrastructure,” he explained.

Abang Johari (centre seated) activating the launch gimmick for Sarawak Export Day 2019 as other state dignitaries look on.

Abang Johari also spoke about the state’s three trade offices overseas — one which has been set up in Singapore, and two more to be set up in Pontianak in Kalimantan, Indonesia and Brunei.

These trade offices would be the contact point between Sarawak industry players and those from the respective host countries, and as a place for Sarawak to showcase and promote its products for commercial and tourism purposes, he said.

“Now it’s up to the business community entrepreneurs themselves to be creative, identifying market demands and trying to produce things that would meet market demands. The rest is up to you.

“I think we (Sarawak) have all these ingredients, just a matter of your willingness and hard work to transform what we have into something that we can market worldwide particularly in this region,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily