Business community keen to tap Nusantara potential

His Excellency Raden Sigit Witjaksono (third left) and Datuk Abang Abdul Karim (fourth left) join others in a group after the courtesy meeting.

KUCHING: Sarawak business community is keen to explore and enhance bilateral cooperation with Indonesia which has announced plans to move its capital to Nusantara in Kalimantan.

Exploratory discussions were held between the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuching and Sarawak Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) during a courtesy meeting on Tuesday (May 17).

“In view of the Indonesian capital moving to Nusantara, it is timely that both parties capitalise on the opportunities presented for further enhancement of commercial ventures, trading activities and investments between both nations,” said SCCI president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Datuk Abang Openg.

According to a statement, new Consul General, Raden Sigit Witjaksono is keen on exploring a joint economic cooperation zone mooted for the border area and hoped to report the suggestion to the West Kalimantan Governor.

“Wood working, furniture manufacturing, food processing (agriculture and aquaculture) and downstream products are among some of the industries highlighted.

“During the discussion, it was also agreed that the Consulate will coordinate with Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional (BAPPENAS) for a briefing to SCCI members on the development of the new capital Nusantara, what development is in the pipeline so that business communities in Sarawak are aware of business opportunities presented by the relocation and development of the capital,” it stated.

According to Abang Karim, Sarawak hopes medical tourism will continue to flourish and also given Sarawak’s strategic location near Nusantara, that it could be developed into a ‘transport hub’ to cater to the needs of Umrah pilgrims going to Mecca.

“The Chamber is also expected to work closely with the Consulate on bringing Indonesian workers to the state as soon as possible in view of the issue of shortage of workers in Sarawak. 

“On a business chamber level, SCCI hopes that with its Indonesian counterpart, both parties can organise joint business networking sessions and annual joint programmes focusing not only on trade but social and cultural exchanges and development,” he added.

At the same time, both parties are excited over the opening of border trade between both nations whereby a ‘dry run’ on trade facilitation is expected with the first shipment of ‘gula apong’ to Sarawak via Tebedu Inland Port on May 23.

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