KUCHING, Jan 15: The state government will not interfere with the running of the newly established Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg gave his assurance that the running of the bank will be done by an independent five-member board of directors who were selected from professionals and non-politicians.
However, he said, DBOS would have to report back to the state government in the latter’s capacity as one of the shareholders of the bank.
Speaking after declaring open DBOS’s brand new office at the SEDC Building at Kuching Isthmus near Jalan Sejingkat here today, Abang Johari said by doing so, decisions to approve loans for certain government projects would not be biased, and would be fair to others.
“The bank will be run by professionals, no politicians. The board of directors consists of non-politicians, just professionals. They will evaluate government projects that apply for loans to the bank. I will not know whose loan will be approved or how much, because I do not want to interfere. It is up to the board and the decisions also lie with the board. Not me,” he said.
The five-member board of directors of DBOS, led by its CEO Sim Kheng Boon, consists of Datuk Amar Mohammad Morshidi Abdul Ghani as chairman, Dato Sharkawi Alis, Ho Swee Huat and an Iban engineer from Sibu Christopher Adrian.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said in the past, Sarawak had several local banks namely Bank Utama, Hock Hua Bank and Interfinance Bank. However the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to merge the banks.
“Because of that, the Sarawak ownership of the banks have gone, taken by him. Since then we didn’t have our own bank till now.
“Thankfully our now Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was willing to listen to us, approve the licence and allow us to have our own bank,” he said.
Abang Johari said among the projects that DBOS would finance are government and government-related projects that have commercial value.
He said projects financed by DBOS would have to earn returns that would eventually help propel the state’s economy to greater heights.
“Like any other commercial bank, DBOS would have to make money and be profit-driven,” said Abang Johari.
He said, as an example, a project that the bank could help finance would be the LRT and public transport projects in the state.
“For roads, we just use our MRP funds, because there is no return from road projects. Even our road tax is paid to the federal government. Therefore projects like our public transport and the LRT project is one project that the bank can help finance.
“Not only will the public be able to use it after paying for tickets, it could also boost our tourism industry as tourists would want a good public transport system in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily