Chong questions MITI on plans to attract more foreign investment into Sarawak with stiff competition from other states

A collage photo of Awang Tengah (left) and Chong during the DUN sitting today (May 26).

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 26: Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen has questioned the Ministry of International Trade and Investment (MITI) on its plan to attract and secure more foreign investments into Sarawak given the stiff competition from other states in the country, but failed to get a clear explanation.

While commending Sarawak for attracting RM23.17 billion in total foreign direct investments (FDI) for 17 projects despite the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Chong however pointed out that Sarawak only ranked fifth among the recipients of FDI into Malaysia.

“The MIDA (Malaysian Investment Development Authority) statistics showed that Sarawak only ranks fifth after Penang, which recorded RM83 billion approved FDI, Kedah RM68 billion, Kuala Lumpur RM37 billion and Selangor RM28.78 billion,” he said.

Chong interjected MITI Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan during his winding-up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today to seek clarification as to the plan of the State government to ensure Sarawak can become a top FDI destination in the country and draw in more investments.

“Sarawak has a lot of resources and cheap energy, however the attraction of FDI into Sarawak has some hiccups or drawbacks.

“My question is how is the government going to plan to attract FDI when we have stiff competition from other states in Malaysia? And what is the projection or future plan of the State so we can top FDI and attractions to Sarawak?” he asked.

Awang Tengah only replied: “This figure is based on the MIDA report which I have quoted just now for the year 2020. We are the second biggest investment destination in the whole country despite the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Earlier on, the Deputy Premier informed the august House that despite the challenging global situation due to Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Sarawak managed to attract a total investment of RM23.17 billion for 117 projects.

“Out of this, RM16.08 billion was approved in 2020 and RM7.09 billion in 2021. These investments are expected to create more than 11,000 employment opportunities.”

He added that the major projects approved under Industrial Coordination Act 1975 (ICA) in 2020 and 2021 were in the sectors of Basic Metal Products (2020) – RM13.8 billion (high grade steel); Electrical & Electronic Products (2021) – RM4.2 billion (chip capacitor); and Chemicals & Chemical Products (2021) – RM1.4 billion (Polycrystalline silicon and industrial gas).

Meanwhile, the major projects approved under the State Industrial Coordination Committee (ICC) in 2020 and 2021 were Renewable Energy Product (2020) – RM250 million (biomass and biogas for power generation); Basic Metal Products (2021) – RM938 million (copper foil, building material and furniture); Services (2021) – RM93 million (logistic and warehousing); and Non-Metallic Mineral Product (2021) – RM86 million (precast concrete).— DayakDaily