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Its chairman Datuk John Tenewi Nuek in a statement said that the right people with the relevant qualification and experiences to advise the Sarawak government must also be appointed in the council.
According to Tenewi, the alternative to the setting up of an economic council will be to establish an economic planning unit in the Chief Minister’s Office to plan and execute economic recovery strategies besides a long term economic plan.
“The strategies as laid out by our Chief Minister appears to be a long term plan that covers two key areas of development, and TSI welcomes the focus on the two core areas, namely the digital economy and sustainable environment, though we would like to see the economic plan to cover a wider scope of our economy.
“While the digital economy will ensure that Sarawak will be able to exploit the technology and management of doing business in the future and having a sustainable environment will ensure that we will be able to enjoy the fruit of our nurture not only now but also for the generations to come, the other important aspects of nation building such as a good education system must be put in place to build up an advanced and educated and knowledgeable manpower to execute the vision of our Chief Minister, ” he said
He added that a digital economy would require attracting the brightest mind from around the world to work together and the right infrastructure need to be put in place whether physical infrastructure or the manpower.
He was referring to the SEAC announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, as quoted in a news report on May 6, 2020, to help the state’s economic to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tenewi also noted that it was important for the Sarawak Government to prioritise its development projects, cutting down on low priority projects, and shift the funds to economic recovery.
He said that with Sarawak’s small population and a laid back rural economic development which depended on agriculture produce, to get over the current economic recession would be a difficult task.
At the same time, Tenewi also suggested for more exploration to be conducted on the state’s richest natural resources which is the geographical terrain and location where the hydro renewable energy is in abundance.
“There is a need to explore ways to ensure that Sarawak benefits more from the renewable energy that can drive our industries to produce finished goods for export using local or imported commodities.
“With energy cost going up around the world, Sarawak stands to gain from a competitive advantage on lower energy cost.
The strategy would be to utilise this competitive advantage for green industries and develop local manpower and expertise to continue to improve our economic and entrepreneur capabilities,” he said.
He also pointed that on the practical side, Sarawak government has to work with the Federal Government to plan its economic strategies and work on the national monetary and fiscal policies during this time of economic crisis of global proportion.
“Federal financial Grants in the billions of ringgits for Sarawak will be crucial in making sure the economic recovery plan will be executed successfully,” he said, adding it was also extremely crucial to increase domestic consumption to help boost domestic economy.
“Riding out of this economic recession will require hundreds of billions of ringgits for Sarawak alone in the next few years.
“This kind of money is only available from the Central Bank of Malaysia through the Federal Government or through the issuance of government bonds,” he added. – DayakDaily.