Rural devt biased budget

Posted on : 02 Nov 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abg Johari promises to table a record budget to spur growth in rural areas, create right business environment to attract investors

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The State Budget 2019 is expected to be rural development-biased for enhanced infrastructure development across Sarawak.

In pointing this out, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the budget to be tabled this Monday would write a new history for Sarawak.

“I don’t mind telling you today (yesterday) that the budget I will table at the State Legislative Assembly on Nov 5 will be the biggest budget ever for Sarawak.

“It will be a record budget, a testament of our commitment to fulfill the aspirations of the people to have more roads and bridges for added connectivity and increase the coverage of treated water and electricity supplies,” he said when opening the International Conference on Sarawak and Asean here yesterday.

Abang Johari said Sarawak recognised the need to create a suitable business environment for all investors and businesses to allow them to thrive.

“Indeed, we often need an impetus or avenue to spur growth. It is for this reason that our development agency, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), was established about a decade ago.

“It (SCORE) has entered its second phase of development. Thus far, it has attracted approximately RM79.3 billion worth of investments from the private and public sectors, with private investments in 22 projects from various industries amounting to RM33.6 billion throughout its five growth nodes, and creating 61,000 jobs,” he said.

The success of SCORE had seen its expansion from 70,000 sq km to 100,000 sq km this year with trigger industries in aluminium, steel, oil-based and glass, and having attracted cluster industries from across the region.

“There are also ample opportunities for start-ups and SMEs in Sarawak with the provision of various grants and incentives.”

Last year, the Sarawak government had allocated RM700 million in various grants to support  entrepreneurs.

The amount had increased to RM900 million this year, he said, adding that other incentives and programmes by Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and others, could also be leveraged upon.

As such, Abang Johari encouraged both local and foreign entrepreneurs to see Sarawak as a platform for the development of their business ideas, which could flourish to become the next big thing in the region.

The conference with the theme ‘Growing Together for Common Prosperity and Regional Wellbeing’, is most appropriate, he said.

“We have often talked about a common future as East and Peninsular Malaysia but seldom discussed our future as part of Asean. This makes it an exciting topic and one that presents much prospect for Sarawakians.”

He believed that the conference would present opportunities for partnerships, collaboration and investments, all of which are necessary in the development of Sarawak and the elevation of standard of living.