By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Dec 28: In ushering 2021, Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch’s chairman Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok hopes that the new year will bring political stability and a pro-business government for the country.
He noted that Sarawak will be holding its 12th state election next year and thus believed a strong government with good leadership which could enact business friendly policies will propel the state’s economy towards growth.
“One of the considerations of a good business environment is also political stability and with a good schedule exit plan, our state will be put through the election and my hope is that we would vote for a strong government with good leadership.
“Our federal government might also have a general election as announced by Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) after the pandemic is over, and it will be good that we elect an experienced government that will lead us inclusively and that is pro-business,” he said in a statement.
Reflecting back on the measures announced by the state government to assist the people to go through the Covid-19 pandemic, Sim outlined that the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) cash handout to B40 and M40 groups, hawkers, self-employed, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), water and electricity discounts have been a great help to all Sarawakians.
Coupled with the various economic stimulus packages such as the Bantuan Prihatin programme from the federal government, Sim asserted that there were not many business failures nor high unemployment.
He also asserted that there was no increase in crime in Sarawak which showed that the state government was on the right track in assisting the people in riding through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sim believed the commercial settlement agreement (CSA) signed between the state government and national oil corporation Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) last December 7 will have a positive effect on the state economy and be a gamechanger in terms of creating bigger business opportunities in Sarawak.
He opined that direct investment into Sarawak could be doubled or even tripled from Petronas through the new steady income together with the oil royalties and other revenue.
Sim who is also a director of Sim Swee Yong Development and Construction Sdn Bhd, believed the property industry in Sarawak will see a positive effect from more investment pouring into the state, as demand will rise due to population growth and investments, thus raising the income and wealth of the people.
However, he also noted that the property sector in Sarawak is currently recovering from the fallout of Covid-19, and has not been restored to the pre-Covid-19 level of supply and demand.
Going forward, Sim noted the state government is implementing catch-up strategies such as infrastructure and telecommunication projects as well as modernisation of agriculture to steer the state towards a high income state by 2030.
He also noted that the state government encourages the adoption of a digital economy in Sarawak.
“In my opinion, the 2021 economic and business outlook for Sarawak and Malaysia is that it will get much better.
“My hope is that the natural business cycle will come true soon as in the saying, what ‘goes down must come up again’ after this unprecedented event.
“We hope the country’s border will be opened as soon as it is safe and business can be restored by the time most of the population is vaccinated,” he added. — DayakDaily