KUCHING: Sarawak will host the 25th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Ministerial Summit here from Nov 20-24.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the opportunity to host the event showed the confidence of the Asean neighbours in Sarawak, which was moving towards an integrated and digital economy.

“I was in Bangkok to attend the 34th Asean Summit at the invitation of the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad),” he said when launching PwC Malaysia’s Kuching office here today.

He said the 10-nation regional grouping, including the BIMP-EAGA, was cooperating in many areas such as transforming the economy, which would see Sarawak taking advantage of its resources to be developed as potential commodities.

The BIMP-EAGA was launched in March 1994 as a cooperation initiative to increase trade, investment and tourism in the region comprising Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan in Malaysia, Brunei, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Irian Jaya in Indonesia, besides Palawan and Mindanao in the Philippines.

Abang Johari launches the PwC Malaysia’s office in Kuching. Photo: Bernama 

On the opening of PwC Malaysia’s office here, the 7th in the country, Abang Johari said it was an indication of Sarawak’s fast-growing reputation as an attractive hub for business, as well as the confidence shown by the private sector.

Via a joint venture between China’s Huawei and the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centex), he said the state government planned to leapfrog to 5G technology to upgrade Sarawak’s digital infrastructure.

He said there was a need to explore the implementation of the 5G network from 3G at present, while the digital economy only contributed 2.3 per cent to the state economy as of last November.

Earlier PwC Malaysia managing partner Sriharan Nair said there was a growing demand for professional services in Sarawak and the multi-disciplinary firm could offer a wide range, from implementing effective tax strategies to reshaping workplace culture in response to current trends. – Bernama