KUCHING: The global economic slump following the Covid-19 pandemic does not dampen trade activities in Sarawak, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
“Sarawak has always registered positive balance of trade since the 1970s. Despite the slowing down of the economy, Sarawak continues to enjoy positive trade balance,” he said when delivering his address at the High Level Dialogue on Asean Italy Economic Relations today (Jan 21).
The International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Minister said Sarawak’s major export markets are Japan, Peninsular Malaysia, China and Korea.
“Sarawak is the third largest contributor to the Malaysian economy. In 2019, Sarawak contributed 9.6 percent to the country’s economy and this contribution is largely from the oil and gas sectors.
“Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is valued at €258.96 billion, while Italy’s GDP is valued at €1,700 billion. Sarawak’s GDP is €26.93 billion,” he said.
Awang Tengah said despite global economic slowdown in the past two years, Sarawak remains as one of the most attractive destinations in Malaysia for investment.
“Up to September of 2020, Sarawak ranked first as the most preferred investment destination in Malaysia in terms of investment in the manufacturing sector worth €3.18 billion or RM15.8 billion.
“Even during the pandemic, serious foreign investors continue to seek investment opportunities in Sarawak. We have investors from South Korea and China applying to enter Sarawak to conduct feasibility studies,” he said.
The deputy chief minister said while the federal government remains supportive of trades in Sarawak through various incentives, the state government has offered flexible terms of payment for land premium.
He said Sarawak’s power source is 75 percent green energy through hydropower, and both its electricity tariff and water tariff are competitive.