The Asian economic dynamo – Aired July 2013
Sarawak,known as Bumi Kenyalang (“Land of the Hornbills”).Malaysia’s largest and one of the fastest growing States on the beautiful island of Borneo. This year Sarawak honors its 50th anniversary and sets up the stage for international investors and travelers to join in on the celebration.
Sarawak has it all: vast natural resources, a strategic location, outstanding investment opportunities, a stable government, and unique natural and cultural tourism attractions.
The factor that sets people of Sarawak apart is their hospitality.
Sarawakians are well known for their openness and generosity.There are over 30 different ethnic groups and tribes living in the State in peace and harmony with each other
Thus it’s no surprise that more and more investors around the world are setting their sights on one of the hidden gems of Southeast Asia.
The state went through amazing developments in the last fifty years, especially in the field of transport infrastructure.
Sarawak’s economy has traditionally been based on mining, agriculture and forestry, but the state is successfully pursing an ambitious diversification program The target is to create world-leading high-tech, value-added and renewable-energy activities in order to transform Sarawak into a high-income economy by 2030.
The massive Sarawak corridor of renewable energy project or SCORE in short is a prime example of Sarawak’s forward-thinking, investor-friendly and very global approach when it comes to economic development. taking advantage of the state’s abundant energy resources, score has already attracted several billions of US dollars in investments and is expected to help boost Sarawak’s gdp growth to 10% per year.
For a long time education has been a priority for the country’s leadership. A clever choice, because economic growth will increase the need for trained and skilled professionals to drive the future development of Sarawak.
Thanks to a long-standing commitment in fostering world-class higher education and research, Sarawak now has prestigious universities in Kuching and Miri. A new university of technology is being planned for Sibu town as part of continuing efforts to ensure that Sarawakians can meet the high demand for skilled workers under SCORE. By the year 2030 at least 100 000 more engineers and 500000 workers with computer literacy and welding skills would be required in the state.
students can choose from a wide range of options, including innovative programs in cutting-edge technologies at several research-oriented institutions.
Protecting Sarawak’s rich natural heritage is another mission for the government. a massive reforestation program is underway to ensure that Sarawak’s economic development is truly sustainable and that resources on hand today will still be available tomorrow. environmental assessments are also conducted for all new projects. in addition, the Sarawak natural resources and environment board plays an important role in enhancing and protecting the quality of the state’s natural environment, including its plants, animals and water resources.
One example of how the Sarawak government tries to find a balance between economic interests and forest protection is the policy concerning the timber industry.
A rational water management plan is equally important for the state’s sustainable development.
The government is well aware that it is crucial to cooperate closely with the Sarawak people, in order to reach its ambitious goal of a balanced resources management.
Development and investment
Sarawak is well on the way to achieving its goal of becoming Malaysia’s richest state.
with its many high-potential sectors, liberal investment policies, cost-competitiveness, abundant supplies of energy and water, and a productive, largely English-speaking workforce, Sarawak has popped up on global investors’ radar.
The 2008 – 2030 development plan for SCORE focuses on developing the energy sector and targets 10 high impact priority industries that will complement the development plan and also provide downstream opportunities for SMEs.
Investors in manufacturing can count on some of the most attractive incentives in the asean region, including low-cost building land and tax exemptions. companies involved in state-of-the-art emerging technologies and r&d can also benefit from particularly attractive conditions, and extra incentives are available to investors in a wide range of targeted growth sectors, from ict and shipping to tourism and agriculture.
Due to its varied geography, biodiversity, and huge expanse of land suitable for cultivating many different types of crops, agriculture has been a growing industry in the State.
A good balance between urban and rural development is essential for the government of Sarawak. The Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority or SALCRA was set up with the purpose of improving the well-being of the rural communities. For the past three decades, transforming idle native land into productive agricultural pastures has helped to improve the standard of living among the ruralresidents. SALCRA plays a key role in the promotion of agriculture development projects.
SALCRA is providing know how and technology to the rural population, which in turn is making the land they own available for development. It is a highly profitable cooperation.
Sarawak’s leading agricultural sub-sectors are palm-oil production and forestry. Sarawak has 1.2 million hectares of palm-oil plantations and aims to add another 800,000 hectares to reach a total of 2 million hectares by 2020. the government is eager to support downstream palm-oil activities as part of its drive to move the agriculture sector up the value chain.
With some 124,449 square kilometers of land, Sarawak still has plenty of room for agricultural operations to grow without endangering the natural environment
Sarawak’s timber industry is one such possible growth sector. The state’s focus is on making it sustainable and environment-friendly. Moreover, logs have to be legal, and all movement is well monitored .
Timber company Harwood was established in 1985. Initially, it was a trading firm, but Harwood was later authorized by the Sarawak government to monitor the distribution of logs within Sarawak, and for export overseas.
Trade and Industry / Construction / Energy and Water
The energy sector, especially the score project, is expected to be Sarawak’s main engine of growth by 2030.
A number of new power plants are boosting Sarawak’s energy capacity significantly. in October 2012, Sarawak energy bhd announced it would build five more coal-powered plants as part of the score project. another major energy initiative is the Murum hydropower dam, currently under construction, which will eventually add another 944 megawatts to Sarawak’s energy mix.
Ambitious infrastructure and construction projects are underway throughout the state to create the right foundations for sustainable economic expansion. one example is the Samalaju township project by Cahya Mata, in partnership with the Bintulu development authority. Samalaju township is being developed north of the cutting-edge Samalaju industrial park, yet another ideal base for business in Sarawak.
ICT and Transport
Sarawak has an extensive road network that includes the pan Borneo highway, which connects all the state’s major towns and links Sarawak to Sabah, Brunei, and west Kalimantan in Indonesia. the rest of the state’s road system, particularly in remote areas, is currently undergoing thorough expansion and upgrades.
Sarawak also has 55 navigable rivers with a combined length of over 3,000 kilometers.the state’s modern ports at Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and kampung Senari are equipped to handle general and bulk cargoes. a cutting-edge new deepwater port at Samalaju is designed to serve nearby aluminum and manganese smelting plants as well as other industrial operations linked to the score project.
Over the past decade, Sarawak has also fostered an impressive communications industry. The 100% government owned company sains was created 20 years ago, to spur the ict development in the country.
The ict sector is expected to significantly boost the state’s export totals in the future. spurred on by investment incentives, Malaysia’s ict sector is set for double-digit expansion over the next three years and is expected to achieve a total value of $25.6 billion US dollars by 2015.
Sarawak lives up to its motto, “where adventure lives”. most visitors come for the state’s exceptional eco-tourism opportunities, such as one of the best tropical rainforests on the planet.
Sarawak’s Gunung Mulu national park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is famous for its limestone caves, including the world’s biggest natural underground chamber, as well as the world’s longest tree-canopy skywalk.
Bako national park near Kuching contains two challenging peaks for serious jungletrekkers: Gunung Murud, at around 2,400 meters, or famed batu lawi, a tough 2,000-meter climb. and that’s just the beginning.
The Sarawak cultural village offers the visitors an insight into the traditional life of all 32 ethnic groups in the state.
For city-lovers, Kuching has many parks and gardens, a wealth of shopping options, a picturesque colonial central district as well as a choice of luxury hotels and state-of-the-art conference and business services. each of Sarawak’s major cities has their own unique tourism attractions.
Sarawak’s hotel sector is booming, with many local and international brands represented, and the mice tourism segment is definitely on the upswing as Sarawak hosts more global trade fairs and events. along with all of Sarawak’s other attractions, visitors can expect a warm welcome from the locals. in fact, Sarawak’s friendly, open and multilingual community is one of the best reasons to visit this fascinating place.
Breathtaking nature and cutting-edge technology.
Hospitable culture and a vibrant modern economy.
exceptional business opportunities and jungle-filled adventures.
Sarawak has it all and more.
The future of Sarawak is bright.