BINTULU, July 22 ― Sarawak has managed its economy well without any assistance from anyone, Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg asserted today.
He said the evidence is that the state’s financial position has been accorded the “clean bill of health” by the Auditor-General for the 17th year running.
“Recently, the AG Report has rated the financial performances of 24 state ministries and agencies as excellent,” he said in his address at the Sarawak Day’s celebration here.
He added that international ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have also rated the state’s financial performances as very satisfactory.
Abang Johari said apart from the imposition of 5 per cent sales on the exports of petroleum and petroleum products and the investment of 25 per cent in liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, the state also has alternative sources of revenue.
He said these include wholly-owned Development Bank of Sarawak (DBoS) which gives out loans for the construction of water and electricity supplies, coastal road projects, second trunk road and Integrated Samarahan Development Agency.
The chief minister said Sarawak is doing well in attracting foreign and domestic investment among the states in Malaysia.
“In Bintulu alone, Sarawak has succeeded in attracting about RM13.76 billion investment and providing about 11,000 job opportunities,” he said, adding that between 2016 and 2018, a total of RM23.7 billion has been invested in Sarawak.
Abang Johari said construction work on the state-owned methanol plant in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu, will commence in September.
He said he is confident that the plant will be a boost for further economic development in Bintulu.
The chief minister also said the state economy needs to be developed in accordance with the current trends and situation.
He said since taking over as the chief minister in 2017, he has taken steps to transform the state economy from the conventional to digital in line with the global trend.
“If we don’t move towards the digital economy now, we will be left behind,” he said.
The chief minister said he expects the state economy to grow by between 5 per cent and 6 per cent over the next two years.
“If this growth continues in the years to come, Sarawak will be able to achieve a developed state status by 2030,” he said.
The chief minister urged the people to continue to give their support to the state government, saying that he and his Cabinet colleagues will not be able to develop the state without their support.
“Over the last 50 years we have been depending others to help us so that we can be on par with other states, but we are still lagging far behind,” he said.
He said Sarawakians must stand on their own feet to decide their own destiny of developing the state.
“There are outside elements who attempt to weaken the unity of Sarawak. Some among us have started to forget our joint struggle to defend out rights for their own interests.
“In conjunction with Sarawak Day celebration, my colleagues and I pray that the state is safe from being taken over by outsiders,” he said.
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