KUCHING: It is vital that the private sector undertake major investment initiatives in Sarawak, especially in digital-related technologies and industries, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Pointing out that with the size of the state’s economy RM130 billion last year, he said Sarawak would need at least RM2 to RM3 billion of private investments a year to grow at a desired rate of five to six per cent.
The government’s investment of RM1 billion to RM2 billion over several years of physical infrastructure is not sufficient for the digital economy to drive the growth of the Sarawak economy if we are not also putting money into content and products to sell.
We therefore have to cast a very wide net to bring in all the private investments that we can get, both from local Sarawakians as well as foreign investors from abroad, he said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (Idecs) 2018 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.
He stressed that the state could no longer afford to be too defensive over Sarawak’s economy.
We should open up the Sarawak economy and the Sarawak market gradually but surely. Economic opportunities and new high-paying jobs can be created by outsiders by taking a fresh view of the prospects of Sarawak. While Sarawakians may wish to take a stake in foreign investments, we have to find ways to pool our resources together and invest in major investment projects.
Considering that digital economy cuts across a large number of economic sectors, Abang Johari said he would also ensure that clarity and transparency are evident in other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture, manufacturing and tourism-related activities.
Idecs, held for the second year running, is hosting a total of 19 experts in digital-related industries sharing their knowledge and experience in various areas such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Data Science, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart City, start-ups and digital government.
More than 2,000 delegates from all over the world are participating in the two-day event themed ‘Data to Fuel Economic Growth and Quality of Life’.
Among those present were deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani.
Source: Sarawak Government