Chiew urges need to stress domestic industrialisation
Of these sectors, only two are involved in industrialisation for export, namely palm oil and timber, while the others are more service-oriented.
KUCHING: Sarawak needs to urgently develop its domestic industrialisation policy if it wants to achieve a developed state status.
Chiew Chiu Sing ( DAP-Tanjung Batu) said the state did not have to rely on foreign direct investment (FDI) all the time.
“I note that the biggest companies in Sarawak are involved in power supply, property, construction, palm oil and timber.
“Of these sectors, only two are involved in industrialisation for export, namely palm oil and timber, while the others are more service- oriented.
“In fact, these big players in the palm oil and timber industries should be in the forefront to lead Sarawak in industrialisation activities by going up the value chain and produce products for export,” he said when debating the state budget yesterday.
Chiew said for example, the big timber companies should produce high value global furniture products capitalising on the state’s abundant hardwood timber resources and not just sell logs for easy money, while completely neglecting to industrialise, build factories and make products.
He recalled that Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s administration had talked about this before, and asked where the furniture made in Sarawak for export were now.
“Or, are we just interested in catching the illegal loggers, not that it is not important, and now even catching them with drones?
“But please for goodness sake do something more productive for our timber industry,” he said.
Chiew said the big palm oil companies must also produce high- end products such as in the cosmetic and food industries with palm oil as the major ingredient, and not just look at North Korea producing cosmetics even though they did not even have palm oil.
He said the state government must fully realise the state’s comparative advantages and build on them to create finished, branded products as global champions in their respective fields.
He suggested that while the state could not just leave it like that to the big companies, the state government must think of something to encourage them through incentives.
“For example, the government can grant tax deductions on investment in high- end finished products, pull in universities to work together with these big companies to do research, invent and produce these products while making sure that our institutions have the best experts, the latest tools and scientific equipment for the task.
“The government of the day must also conduct trade promotion overseas by using just one per cent of the export value of their goods.”
Chiew Chiu Sing, Tanjung Batu assemblyman