Kuching: In a continuous and structured effort to strengthen Sarawak’s economic front more trade opportunities must be explored and developed between Indonesia and Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg said today.
Citing the untapped potentials of collaboration between Indonesian Kalimantan and Sarawak, he said so much could be taken advantage of to benefit both regions.
Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Johari was speaking to a group of businessmen before witnessing the exchange of three MOUs documents between trade entities from Sarawak and their counterparts from Indonesia during a ceremony at the Indonesia Conference Exhibition Centre in Tangerang near Jakarta this morning.
The signing of the MOUs in Jakarta coincided with the Indonesian 33rd International Trade Exposition being held at the centre.
Earlier, Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Zohari and members of his delegation attended the official opening of the exposition by the President Of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.
Danawa Sdn. Bhd. from Sarawak and PT.THC Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Collaborative Agreement to undertake the implementation of fibre optics infrastructures via the border crossings of Tebedu-Entekong and Badau-Lubok Antu that would provide a high speed Internet and multi-media connection between Indonesia and Sarawak.
The two parties had a similar existing collaboration to lay connections via the Biawak-Aruk border crossing that was expected to be completed by end of this year.
The second MOU was inked between Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works and PT. Wika Wijaya Persero TBK of Indonesia to explore opportunities in infrastructure development.
The third MOU was signed between the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the Sarawak Business Federation to strengthen business cooperation between Sarawak and Indonesia.
The Chief Minister said that the volume of trade between Sarawak and Indonesia though on the increase had to be upgraded from its present status for benefit of both economies.
Statistics showed that the value of trade between Sarawak and Indonesia increased from RM1.8 bilion (USD0.43 billion) in 2016 to RM2.1 bilion (USD0.51 billion) in 2017 and up until May this year the value was recorded at RM1.3 billion (USD 0.31).
“If the upward trend continuous in the remainder of 2018 I am sure that the value would exceed that in 2017,” he told the business people present.
He said certainly the enhancement of trade cooperation between Sarawak and Indonesia would further increase the level of trade between both economies.
Also present during the ceremony were Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship and Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister for Industries and Investment, Datuk Malcom Mussen Lamoh and Deputy State Secretary, Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki.
Later, the Chief Minister was taken on a tour of the exhibition before flying back to Kuching.