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Friday, 14 July 2017

(The Star) Sarawak eyes new deals

KUCHING: Sarawak is set to attract investments and trade deals when the state hosts the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) this November.

Themed “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges”, the forum will be attended by 2,000 business and industry leaders from around the world.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this was a “golden opportunity” for Sarawak to promote its investment and business opportunities to participants.

“Sarawak has done quite well so far because of our political stability. For the last few years we have been one of the top investment destinations in the country.

“To date, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) has attracted about 22 projects worth over RM33bil in investments,” he said at the soft launch of the forum here.

Awang Tengah said Sarawak would promote opportunities in its timber and timber-based industry; services sector, particularly tourism; halal industry and agribusiness during the forum.

He said the state had designated Tanjung Manis as a halal hub, with 77,000ha to be developed for upstream and downstream activities.

“We also want to highlight opportunities for the development of small and medium enterprises,” he added.

Awang Tengah also said the forum’s theme was in line with Sarawak’s push towards a digital economy, for which the state government has allocated RM1bil to develop the necessary infrastructure.

“So this forum is really welcomed and we look forward to meeting with captains of industry,” he said.

WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam said this was the second time Malaysia was hosting the forum outside Kuala Lumpur, the first being the eighth edition in Johor Baru in 2012.

He said the forum was not only for Muslim participants only but was open to non-Muslim business leaders and countries as well.

“Business does not recognise boundaries, including colour and creed, so we will see participation from various countries including Russia, China and Scandinavia,” he said.

Musa added that the forum would provide a platform for Sarawak to showcase what it had to offer to potential business partners.

“Sarawak is very important in terms of the national development process of the country. We hope what will come out of the forum will be the importance of Sarawak and its contribution to the economy and catapult Sarawak onto the world stage,” he said.

The WIEF Forum will be held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching from Nov 21 to 23.