Strategic master plans have been established in traditionally rural areas, from the central region to the hinterland and the northern region of the state, to spur growth potentials and attract renewable energy investments, said Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) CEO Datu Ismawi Ismuni.
“To attract investors, it is vital that we accelerate infrastructure development to drive socio-economic growth in rural areas, which will serve as a foundation to support livelihood and employment opportunities of rural communities,” he said during the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia online consultation meeting with the Sarawak Government and state agencies today.
“In line with Sarawak’s aspiration to be a developed and high-income state by the year 2030, we are tasked to spur the growth potentials in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which includes three regional development agencies, namely Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA), and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA),” Ismawi added.
RECODA has created masterplans to develop Bakun, Belaga and Kapit under URDA; Mulu, Bario and the Integrated Highland Agricultural Station (IHAS) under HDA; and Sundar, Trusan, Merapok and the New Lawas Airport under NRDA.
The online meeting, chaired by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, discussed efforts in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), its existing priorities and future development plans, as well as opportunities that it can tap into in the larger ASEAN region.
Also speaking were Deputy Chief Minister, Second Minister of Urban Development & Natural Resources, and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industry Terminal & Entrepreneur Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain.
Ismawi said Kapit is now accessible by road from Sibu, where previously it was only possible to travel by air or river. Kapit’s masterplan encompasses urban renewal and the expansion of a new township. For Bakun, its masterplan will focus on attracting investors with its proposed lakefront township and island resort local plan.
“We want to take advantage of the (Bakun) lake, which is the size of Singapore,” Ismawi said.
Mulu’s masterplan will involve the construction of a road network linking roads linking Miri-Marudi, Marudi-Mulu (Kuala Melinau) and Long Panai-Long Lama, Miri, which will vastly improve connectivity in the area.
“We have to travel by air to visit Mulu. With this masterplan, there will be a road all the way to Mulu. In the next four years to come, tourists and visitors will able to travel by road from Miri, and have the option to choose another route to places such as Long Lama.”
For the NRDA region, which is strategically located near Brunei, Kalimantan and Sabah, the state-funded proposed Northern Coastal Highway will improve overall connectivity.
Additionally, a master plan is near completion for the Lawas Deep Sea Port, which will support the oil & gas industry, including plans for the proposed Integrated Petroleum Chemical Complex in Lawas.
RECODA is the implementing agency for infrastructure and socio-economic development projects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) region, which covers 80% of the state’s land area.
From 2019, RECODA was entrusted by the Sarawak government to implement development projects in the regions overseen by the three development agencies with funds totalling RM4.5 billion.
A total of 268 projects are implemented including the construction of roads, bridges, water supply, socio-economic programmes as well as masterplans.
Meanwhile, Awang Tengah, who is also NRDA Chairman, said Sarawak aspires to be a developed state by 2030, with the state government outlining comprehensive development strategies to grow the state economy to RM282 billion by then.
He added that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will benefit Malaysia through the creation of a single market of more than 600 million consumers, with free flow of goods, services, investments, capital and skilled labour within ASEAN member countries.
“This will benefit Sarawak particularly as we have common borders with Kalimantan Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. With the intended move of the Indonesian
capital to East Kalimantan, there would be plenty of business opportunities for both countries.”
“It is important that we have better road connectivity with Kalimantan to encourage more cross border trade and tourism within Borneo to achieve a win-win situation,” he said.