Low (second left) presents a souvenir to Abang Johari, while (from left) Tan, Dr Sim and Ng look on. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (July 8): Sarawak will continue to promote business-oriented policies and social inclusivity in its economic development, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said he had introduced the ambitious Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 to overcome economic challenges brought by the pandemic, as well as pushing for a digital and green economy since coming into office in 2017.

“The initiatives are where we explore new ideas and areas for us to have an economy that is based on sustainability, which will give us guarantees for the future,” he said.

Abang Johari said in his speech when opening the 77th annual general assembly of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) at a local hotel here today.

Among the many development initiatives embarked on in the state, Abang Johari remarked the state has focused on the environmental sustainability agenda that prioritises the production of renewable energy, including sustainable aviation fuel.

He highlighted about 70 per cent of the state’s energy mix comprising hydropower and the state is also producing hydrogen to power the public transportation system, including for the upcoming Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART).

Moreover, he said collaboration has been established with British oil and gas company, Shell, to integrate both solar and wind energy into powering the operation of its offshore platform as part of a trial project.

Abang Johari added that the state will continue to work with Huawei to upgrade local digital infrastructure and transform places in the state into smart cities.

Precision farming that utilises modern technologies is another key focused area of the Sarawak government, he said.

On that note, Abang Johari called on property and housing developers to include the installation of solar panels in the architecture design of their upcoming projects.

Venturing abroad, he said state-owned utility company Sarawak Energy Berhad is working with the Indonesian government to construct a hydroelectricity dam in Kalimantan with a 25-per cent equity stake in the project, aside from exporting electricity to Singapore.

Nonetheless, he said religious harmony has been a hallmark of the Sarawakian society, including common cases of inter-racial marriages, and this would lead to political stability that augurs well for economic development.

“You know very well, I don’t care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mice. I don’t care whether you are Chinese, Malay or Iban, as long as you can develop Sarawak economically,” said Abang Johari.

Meanwhile, ACCCIM president Senator Tan Sri Dato Low Kian Chuan, in his speech, hoped the Sarawak government can extend the duration of stay for businessmen from Peninsula Malaysia beyond the current three months period, along with allowing them to apply for the Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home programme.

Among those in attendance were Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak president Datuk Tan Jit Kee and ACCCIM deputy president Datuk Ng Yih Pyng.