Sarawak CM wary of trade war
Abang Johari fears US-China conflict may have an impact on state’s economy
SIBU: The state government hopes that the trade war between China and United States will not impact its economy which is projected to grow between 4% and 4.5% this year.
Last year, its economy achieved 4.7% growth as it benefited from the strengthening of the global economy.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, speaking at the Head of State’s 82th birthday celebration parade yesterday, said higher commodities prices were expected to support the state’s export growth.
“However, there remains the downside risk created by the trade war between China and the US which may impact on the state’s trade, but we hope for the best,” he said.
He pointed out that the state’s total trade in 2017 improved to RM137.6bil as its export grew strongly along with the economic improvement in other parts of the world.
Its GDP per capita stood at RM49,327 at current value.
In order to enhance the state’s economic growth, he said several measures would be implemented as it could not depend only on its oil and gas sector and its agricultural commodities which were subject to fluctuation in the global market.
“We have to add more value to our products and create more downstream activities to support higher economic growth.
“For Sarawak to continue progressing, we need to transform Sarawak through digital economy where technology becomes the basis of our economic growth.
“We need to embrace technological changes to be competitive and create more economic values to our products and services, move away from convention to an economy that is founded on digitalisation on many fronts,” he added.
On rural development, he said the state development budget had always been rural-biased because it needed to provide the infrastructure and amenities to the rural folk so that they could enjoy a comfortable life like those in the towns and cities.
There are still pockets of areas without access to clean water and 24-hour power supply near Kuching and areas in Belaga where the Bakun hydro dam sits.
The state government, he said, is “not deaf and dumb to these problems”.
Earlier, he congratulated head of state Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud for bringing vast development to the state when he was the Chief Minister from 1983 to February 2014.
Birthday boy: Taib, flanked by Abang Johari and Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi Taib, cutting his birthday cake at the celebration in Dataran Sibu.