CM: Sarawak’s GDP grew 4.7 pct last year

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

Abang Johari (centre) gestures after receiving a memento from Tan Sri Michael Yeoh (left), the executive vice chairman of Kafi Institute, which is the conference organiser.

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7 per cent last year, more than double that of 2016, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

This performance, he pointed out, had made Sarawak the third largest economy in the country after Kuala Lumpur and Selangor – contributing to 9.7 per cent of the national GDP.

“Sarawak has a per capita income of RM49,327, up from RM44,000 in 2016. With this progress, Sarawak is on track to achieve its 2020 GDP growth target of 4.7 per cent according to Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) Research,” he spoke at the opening the ‘International Conference on Sarawak and Asean’ here yesterday.

Participants pay attention to a presentation during the conference. — Photos by Chimon Upon

Abang Johari said Sarawak had the lowest inflation rate, at three per cent, and an unemployment rate of also three per cent – an improvement from 3.3 per cent in 2016. He added that poverty rate had fallen from 0.9 per cent in 2014 to 0.6 per cent last year.

“Our population is estimated at 2.79 million (42 per cent of them are youths), which presents promising long-term prospects in terms of its human capital talents. Sarawak has a labour force of 1.29 million workers.

“Revenue is steadily improving; (it was) RM6.86 billion last year compared with RM5.91 billion the year before – almost a billion ringgit increase. Exports also grew from RM77 billion in 2016 to RM96 billion last year.

“Such progress is a testament to the strong foundations laid in the Sarawak’s economy and governance

“However, we realise that much more can and needs to be done,” he said.

Abang Johari said to further accelerate development in Sarawak, the government had increased its development expenditure from RM3.92 billion in 2016 to RM4.29 billion last year.

This marked an increase of RM370 million – proof of the government’s commitment in improving its infrastructure and potential.

“Sarawak’s development is meaningless if our fellow Sarawakians living in the rural and interior areas are left behind.”

As such, Abang Johari said said three development agencies had been set up by the government under the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) to see the development of Sarawak’s rural and interior areas.

This would involve developments in six economic trigger projects — aquaculture, tourism, forestry, palm oil, rubber and biotechnology.

He added that there would be a focus on commercial agriculture, particularly for the highland areas.

“However for this to succeed, it would require big players from the private sector to act as anchor farmers. The development of the agricultural sector must also incorporate the use of latest production technologies as well as communications and digital technology.”

Abang Johari said the digital innovation ‘is where we are putting much emphasis on as part of our efforts to adapt and be part of the digital future’.

He said Sarawak recently launched the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy to develop its digital economy between now and 2022.

“At the moment, the digital economy only contributes 2.3 per cent to Sarawak’s economy. This needs to be vastly improved if it wants to catch the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ train,” he added.