Figures for the first nine months of 2015 show that Sarawak is now one of the country’s top magnets for investors, second only to Johor.

Nearly RM12 billion (US$3 billlion) worth of new investment streamed into Sarawak during the nine-month period, the state’s Minister of Industrial Development, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, told guests at the annual dinner of the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in Kuching in November.

Awang Tengah said this success owed much to the state government’s development initiatives, such as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). This has already attracted 20 large-scale projects worth a total of RM30 billion (US$7.5 billion), most of them located at Samalaju Industrial Park.

But Awang Tengah reminded local people and small businesses, as well as big international investors, that they must make sure they are aware of the state’s potential and be ready to grasp the opportunities offered by its rapid growth.

“Apart from providing employment opportunities for graduates and school leavers, the multinational corporations in Samalaju Industrial Park have already generated a lot of business opportunities for smaller local businesses,” he told his audience, which included, as guest of honour, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

“The government can only create a conducive environment for business to flourish,” he said. “Local business communities must be proactive to grab these opportunities – or risk being left behind.”

Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg emphasised the co-operation that was needed between the private and public sectors in publicising Sarawak’s potential.

“We are increasingly involved in global business,” he said. “So the SCCI has been taking a range of initiatives to promote Sarawak’s private sector, like establishing special focus groups to strengthen our business networking and relationships with the Chinese and Indonesian consulates in Sarawak.”