In CNY message, Sarawak premier says acquisition of three major entities to uplift state economy 

KUCHING, Feb 8 — In his Chinese New Year message, Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said that the proposed acquisition of three major entities by the state government within this year will be the strategic platforms that will create an ecosystem to uplift the economy to the next level.

He said the takeover of Bintulu Port and MASWings from the federal government and acquisition of majority shares in a commercial bank will also complete the state government’s ambition to create a wholesome environment for progress and advancement.

He said the time has come for the state government to take back Bintulu Port from the federal government after its establishment some 43 years ago.

“This is not only because it should be under Sarawak’s power according to the Federal Constitution, but also because we need to comprehensively plan our port development that encompasses the whole of the state including its resource-rich hinterland,” the premier said.


He said it is much like taking back Bakun dam from the federal authorities to enable the state to determine its own power tariff in order to attract investment in energy-intensive industries, especially the Samalaju Industrial Zone near Bintulu.

“We also aspire to have an airline to serve not only our rural areas, but also to provide connectivity to selected destinations in the Asian region,” he said, adding that the state government needs to invest in creating air linkages between Sarawak and the rest of the region.

He said it is not only to bring in tourists, but also to facilitate air travel to boost business and investment in Sarawak.


“I hope that we can finalise negotiations with the federal authorities soon and gain control of the airline within this year,” he said.

He said the aspiration to have a major stake in a commercial bank is to provide Sarawak a financial platform to boost the economy further through the development of the small-medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) and entrepreneurship.

Abang Johari said Sarawak already has a stake in said bank but wants to increase it.

“I am confident that we can conclude the negotiations soon so that we can participate actively in the running of the bank and be able to serve Sarawak’s interest well,” the premier said.

Abang Johari also told Sarawakians that the environment now is conducive for business to flourish, and the state is quite on its way to achieve a developed state status by 2030, adding that he is confident that it can be achieved due to the state’s political stability and social cohesiveness.

“Let us not dwell on trivialities but always look at the bigger picture to enable Sarawak to stand tall as a strong economic force in Malaysia and in the region,” he added.

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