CM: Sarawak gets Bank Negara nod to form development bank for ‘strategic projects’

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said the state government wants students to be well-rounded and proficient not only in Bahasa Malaysia but also English. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, April 4 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has given its approval for the Sarawak government to establish its own development bank that will finance strategic projects only, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg told reporters today.

To be called Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS), it will be private-sector driven and will operate along commercial lines, but will not be operating retail businesses, he said.

“The establishment of the bank is what I have been talking about of our new financial model,” he said.

“The four key strategic projects that the bank will finance are ICT infrastructure (digital economy), energy sector (power generation, oil and gas), urban public transportation and service sector like health service,” he said.

He said the bank’s main objectives are to mobilise investment of private and public capital for productive purposes, finance strategic projects that contribute most to the harmonious economic growth of the state as a whole, with special emphasis on high impact projects.

The Sarawak CM added that these strategic projects are in line with the state efforts to implement its socio-economic transformation catch-up plan (2017-2030) and to contribute towards the acceleration process of economic development of the state.

Abang Johari said that BNM will initially give its assistance by seconding its officers to DBOS.

“Since BNM has given its approval, BDOS can start its operation immediately and some of the state reserves in certain local banks will be put into DBOS as initial capital,” he said, adding that the bank is also allowed to raise funds offshore.

Earlier at the closing of the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference, Abang Johari said the state government will legislate a law in the State Assembly later this year to formally establish the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) which will regulate the ICT infrastructure and digital technology regularisation in the state.

He said the establishment of SMA does not mean that Sarawak is competing with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC).

“Under the Federal Constitution, we have the power to regulate our own ICT infrastructure development,” he said.

“With the establishment of SMA, we will set up a state agency, the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC), which will coordinate all areas of the digital economy, such as infrastructure, e-government, talent development, e-commerce and cyber security.

“These are the areas that SDEC will look at,” he said.

Abang Johari also said that the state government will set up a Digital Village at the Samajaya Free Industrial Trade Zone here.