The Sarawak Government welcomes interested investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council Council Countries and other Asian countries to invest trigger industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
In inviting them, Second Minister for Resource Planning and Environment, YB Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said so far, private investments in the Samalaju Industrial Area were overwhelming and had amounted to USD 9.7 billion with 12,912 employment opportunities.
“The earmarked trigger industries that are being promoted under SCORE include the aluminium industry, glass-based, oil-based and metal-based industries to further enhance the development of the ten priority Industries”, he said when speaking at the Panel Discussion for the Inside Invest Forum Asia 2012 held at St. Regis Hotel, Doha Qatar.
Trigger Projets, he added, would be most likely foreign investments as they were already established with the global supply chain and this would ensure long-term viability of SCORE.
YB Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who is also the minister for Public Utilities and Minister for Industrial Development also said he welcomed investments into other areas of SCORE such as in palm oil-based, fishing and aquaculture, livestock, timber-based, marine engineering and tourism.
He said the Muslim population of the world was estimated at 1.8 billion therefore there was a big need and demand for halal food besides the necessity for food security.
Among the priority industries promoted by Sarawak was the development of the Halal Hub which was among the biggest in the region for food production which include aquaculture, agriculture such as vegetable, fruit, as well as fishing and livestock (cows, goats, chickens), for biotech, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, are being promoted, he said.
In fact, there were already investors for these potentially lucrative sectors bearing in mind, a substantial percentage of Muslim population had no access to halal food, he said adding that investors with the expertise, experience and financial strength should therefore take advantage of that whether there were from Asia or Middle East countries.
He assured his audience that Sarawak being the largest State in Malaysia was blessed with natural resources and more importantly one of its greatest assets was that the people enjoyed political stability for well over 40 years.
Besides that, the government was business friendly and led bya a visionary leader, which had transformed the economy from being wholly agricultural and community based to a diversified modern economy, he said.
Malaysia also aspired to become a high income and developed nation by 2020 through the government Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and other initiatives, he added.
Today, he pointed out, Sarawak was not only one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of oil palm, timber products such as plywood and veneer but also high-tech manufacturing products such as microchip, and was going to start paper and pulp industry in a big way.
The minister said though the virtual world seems to be the order of the day, paper was still highly in demand particularly within the emerging economies of Asia, which would be the leading global powers of the future (the so-called Asian Century).
Sustainable management of the natural resources was the fundamental policy of the State Government as it was not only for the environment and conservation but also to ensure reliable and constant supply of raw materials, he said.
Therefore reforestation and tree planting programmes had been undertaken, which were private sector driven and although the State relatively had a small population of 2.5 million, the local workforce was highly trainable, he assured.
YB Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said most of the high0tech industries in the State of Sarwak had engaged the local populace as the main workforce, and the government was flexible with regard to the employment of foreign workers.
In fact, there were significant numbers of foreign workers already working in the State from the highly skilled to the unskilled, he added.
He said currently, the national per capita income was 12,000 US Dollars and expected to reach 15,000 US Dollars by 2020.
To achieve this, he added, the Government had initiated SCORE, along with four other development corridors around the country to accelerate the economic growth in Malaysia.
He explained that each corridor had its own competitive advantage and for SCORE, it was the State’s abundant energy reserves of 28,000 megawatts.
SCORE fitted well to the topic of the discussion as it could act as a vehicle to promote investment partnership, investor of technology and know-how between the GCC Countries and South-East Asian Countries, he said.
SCORE, launched on 1 February, 2008 is a comprehensive development plan up to the year 2030 to accelerate the development of the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
The SORE Development area is located in the Central Region of Sarawak, covering a large area of 70,708 square kilometers. Development is made possible because of the abundant availability of the natural resources in the area.
To achieve this, said YB Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan the development stategy of SCORE was to create new resources of growth, move the whole economy up the value chain by deepening its economic base and linking it with the global supplu chain.
This would be achieved by attracting investments on the asis of Sarawak’s comparative advantages, which were the availability of land, water, energy and our strategic location in Asia especially with respect to the huge markets within Asia and Australia, he said.
To ensure that the SCORE development was spread to the people on the ground, the focus was on building the value chains of key industries, thereby accelerating rural growth and development, he added.