Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg assisted by the Mayor of Kuching South Datuk Wee Hing Seng (third left) and Mayor of Kuching North Datuk Junaidi Reduan (fourth left) performing the gimmick launch of the 32nd Kuching City Day, while from left Deputy State Secretary Datuk Seri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, 32nd Kuching City Day Organising Chairman Cr. Abdul Baderi Sahmat, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr. Sim Kui Hian look on.

KUCHING: Sarawak’s unity, stability and developments have attracted foreign companies to expand their operation in the state.

According to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, a Japanese company has expressed its interest to expand its operation in Sarawak.

“Their operation will involve an investment of USD5 billion which is equivalent to about RM20 billion,” he said at the launch of the 32nd anniversary celebration of Kuching City Day on Saturday.

This would open up more employment opportunities for the locals, he said.

“Once we have people with high salary, there will be more cars and roads will be congested. Therefore, we must have a very good long term plan in terms of transportation,” he added.

On another note, the chief minister said as Sarawak was undergoing a transformation towards digital economy, the state government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would build smart cities.

“When you talk about smart city, there are certain components that are very important in our transformation programme,” he said.

He pointed out these included having adequate water and electricity supply for commercial houses, investors as well as for citizens.

“Next, the city authorities must have well managed sanitation including solid waste management at the same time the city must also have efficient urban mobility and public transportation.

“That is why in our long term plan for Kuching, we are considering an autonomous rail transit (ART) system,” he said.

Abang Johari said the third complement was to build affordable and comfortable housing for the people especially the poor.

“The fourth component of smart city is good governance, especially e-governance and citizenship participation where there must be interaction between the authorities and the people,” he said.

He added that there must also be environment sustainability where there was a balance between space for recreational and sporting events for the people to interact.

“In addition, the components must also include safety and security of citizens especially for the woman, children and elderly.

“And this (smart city) needs a lot of investment. Therefore, the state government will collaborate with the private sector in order to provide this environment for our citizen.

“All these components will provide a better and convenient living for the people in the cities,” he said.