State government put in effort to explore global market
Kuching Team Dynamic applauded Sarawak government in its endeavor to set up trade and tourism office in Indonesia and China respectively in the near future, following the establishment of Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (STATOS) in June 2019.
According to the team leader Eric Tay, this reflects the state government’s ongoing efforts to explore the global market, boost trade and attract more tourists to the Land of Hornbill. “It’s vital for Sarawak to be forward-looking, in order to be competitive and relevant in global economy.”
He was responding to the announcement made by Minister of Local Government and Housing Sarawak Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian at a Chinese New Year dinner gathering in Kuching here.
“As what I had suggested to Sarawak government in a seminar hosted by Federation of Kuching and Samarahan Divisions Chinese Association, Sarawak in 16 September last year, we should strengthen our trade with neighbouring West Kalimantan of Indonesia. Apart from large population, their consumption power has risen as well.” Eric said, “However, due to tariff restriction by Indonesian government, the once-popular bilateral trade checkpoint at Tebedu has stalled in recent years.”
Therefore, he hopes that Sarawak government will give priority to the establishment of a trade and tourism office in Pontianak, and in cooperation with Royal Malaysian Custom Department (RMC), to negotiate with Indonesia a trade agreement which is mutually beneficial to both sides. “This will be extremely advantageous, especially to manufacturers and traders from Sarawak.”
On the other hand, Eric has also proposed for the establishment of a free trade zone at appropriate locations along the coast of Sarawak. Despite its vast territory and sparse population, Sarawak possesses a strategic geographical location, facing northward to South China Sea. “The manufacturers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China would be attracted to invest and set up factories at the free trade zone, and thus increase employment opportunities for our people and cultivate the technological talent among our young generation.”
In response to Dr Sim’s remark that Sarawak will soon attain annual revenue of RM20 billion, Eric acknowledged it as a gratifying news. “On top of that, we deserved more,” said Eric, referring to the claim by Sarawak government against Petronas over its unpaid State Sales Tax (SST) amounting to RM1.3 billion, which is in the midst of judicial hearing. “That was for the first half of 2019, if we take into account the second half as well, it might total up to RM2.6 billion, even excluding interest.”
Meanwhile, Eric urges that Petronas would adopt no more delay tactics in repaying what they owe, particularly to Sarawakians. He also appeals to the members of Parliament from Sarawak, especially those from governing Pakatan Harapan, to voice out for Sarawakians for this matter in both Parliament and cabinet.
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