KUCHING, Sept 7 — Sarawak needs to be selective in welcoming the right investors to avoid the state from becoming a “dumping ground” for unwanted industries, said Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Hussain.
Taking this stand would also help the state to identify good investments that would not only provide profitable returns financially but also keep its environment protected, he said.
“I want to caution here. Actually, there are a lot of people who want to come to Sarawak and take advantage of what we have — cheap lands, cheap power, cheap labour. Because of that, I think we need to be choosy in terms of selecting the right investors to come in,” he said.
He was speaking during a panel session at a webinar titled “Sarawak 2030: Turning Expectations into Reality” moderated by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) honorary professor Datuk Dr Madeline Berma today. RHB Bank organised the event.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismawi Ismuni told the session that about RM71.1 billion of approved public and private investments had been received for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) since its establishment in 2008.
He said the state government was now focusing on developing the hinterlands, highlands and the northern side of the Score area, which cover about two-thirds of Sarawak’s landmass, through the establishment of three additional development agencies.
“The Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA) and Northern Region Development Agency (were formed) because these areas have their own potentials and need different approaches to bring in investments,” he said.
At the same session, Sarawak Economic Planning Unit director Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel said he was confident that the state could achieve an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of eight per cent towards 2030 as spelt out under its Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS).
“To achieve a developed state (status) by 2030 is a tall order — for us to achieve eight per cent GDP growth — but that is not impossible.
“By going to data innovation as our platform of economic growth, we believe that this can be achieved. By emphasising on digitalisation or automation and technology, we believe that we can leapfrog,” he added. — Bernama