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Sarawak Premier Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg arrives at the DUN today. - Photo by Chimon Upon

Abg Johari: Sarawak’s economy to grow 5-6 pct this year

(Source: The Borneo Post, by Sam Chua; 24 May, 2023)

KUCHING (May 24): Sarawak’s economy is projected to grow between five and six per cent this year, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this year also marks the third year of the implementation of the state’s ambitious Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, and despite the many challenges the state’s economy is recovering.

“The Sarawak government is implementing various measures under PCDS 2030 to stimulate the economy, increase productivity and be competitive in the global market,” said Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Finance and New Economy.

He said the state’s economy grew from 2.9 per cent in 2021 to 5.5-6.5 per cent in 2022, with revenue exceeding the original target by 17 per cent to RM11.9 billion last year.

The revenue in 2022 was a 56.3 per cent increase from the RM7.62 billion achieved in 2021, he added.

“We are intensifying the implementation of infrastructure projects to ensure better connectivity, facilitate trade and investment as well as enhancing the domestic economy,” said Abang Johari in his ministerial winding-up speech in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.

He added that the state had been steadfast in adopting digital economic initiatives through the implementation of Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022.

“Our digital economy initiatives have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic due to lockdowns and social distancing measures. New opportunities have been unlocked with an increase in e-commerce, expansion of the gig economy and cashless transactions.”

Citing the example of the state’s e-wallet initiative, S Pay Global, Abang Johari said the e-wallet size had increased from RM200 to RM6,000, and users of the mobile application had increased to over 685,000.

S Pay Global has also entered into international collaboration with Union Pay International, he said.

The Premier said the state also achieved commendable success in closing the digital divide between urban and rural areas though Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (MySRBN) programme.

“MySRBN is our first state-owned 4G ready and 5G oriented broadband telecommunication network that uses fixed wireless broadband technology. It aims to provide home broadband services for 100,000 rural homes in the next few years.”

A total of 250 sites have also been installed with the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) under the Wi-Fi’s Sarawak Linking Urban, Rural and Nation (Saluran) project, with 86,000 users in the remote areas having been benefited.

Thus, Abang Johari said the state’s commitment towards digital economy has gained the confidence of private investors to invest in the state which would spur the growth of more digital businesses.

“One of the significant achievements is the Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System (BaSICS). It is a gateway connecting Sarawak to the global internet hub of Singapore, interconnecting with telecommunications firm irix’s Tier IV Data Centre located in Santubong,” he said.

The Borneo Post, by Sam Chua

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