KUCHING: Sarawak consistently ranks as the third most preferred investment destination in the country due to political stability and efficient government.

E-commerce Assistant Minister Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais read this out when he represented Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan at the 35th anniversary dinner cum conferences of the Malaysian Sim Clan and World Sim Clan yesterday at Hoi Tin Lau Restaurant, Aeroville Mall here.

Awang Tengah reiterated that the size of Sarawak is 124,450km² and it is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, minerals, forests and agricultural land.

Naroden (front fifth left), Sim Son Chua (fourth left), Sim Moh Khian (fifth right) and Singapore Nanyang Sim Clan Association chairman Desmond Sim (right) cutting the clan’s anniversary cake while others look on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“Although we (Sarawak) are small, our population is growing continuously with 2.8 million multi-ethnic people living in peace and harmony,” read Naroden who is also Entrepreneur and Small-Medium Enterprises (SME) Development Assistant Minister.

Awang Tengah recalled that the state’s economy in the past was driven by the primary sectors, namely, agriculture, later mining and then forestry.

From 1980s onwards, Sarawak successfully broadened its economic base through economic diversification by going into liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, value-adding downstream wood-based industries, planted forests, palm oil plantations, high-tech electronics, energy intensive industries, and services sectors such as tourism and education.

As the third largest economy in Malaysia the state’s real GDP is RM146 billion (US$35 billion) and GDP per capita is RM52,301 (US$12,500). This has been the case for the past six years.

“This is mainly due to political stability and efficient government. Investors have confidence in our top leadership as well as our ability to provide the necessary infrastructure and support services,” Awang Tengah continued.

“Our business-friendly government has made many favourable policy decisions that have kept the cost of doing business low in Sarawak.”

On another matter, Awang Tengah said social events such as the conference organised by the Sim Clan are important platforms for interaction in this increasingly digital world.

“While we can communicate with each other through social media such as WeChat, WhatsApp, Skype and others, physical face-to-face interaction remains important. That is why it is wonderful to see so many delegates from so many countries participate in this conference to form and renew networks as well as better understand each other,” he said.

The 35th anniversary dinner was attended by 1,000 delegates from Malaya, Sabah, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Myanmar and the United States.

Also present at the dinner were former state governor Tun Pehin Seri Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng along with his wife Toh Puan Norkiah, World Foundation Sim Clan founding chairman Sim Son Chua, Malaysia Sim Clan Association and World Foundation Sim Clan president Sim Moh Khian and organising chairman Sim Kui Ann.