KUCHING: The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) will be the key driver for Sarawak to transform itself into a modern industrialised region from a state dependent on subsistence agriculture, according to a senior analyst of a rating agency on Wednesday, Mar 30.
RAM Holdings Bhd group chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng told Bernama that Sarawak had started to diversify and transform its economy to become a more industrialised state, with manufacturing and high-tech industries playing a significant role.
The challenge now is to integrate with rural areas to raise the standard of living and also bring progress to the people in rural areas such as schools, clinics, roads, water and electricity.
Riding on the Score, Sarawak's economy is on a strong growth path and is expected to grow 6.5% this year, he added.
He said Sarawak will be able to achieve the 6.5% growth amid the expected pick-up in large investments under Score, strong commodity prices and likely surge in export demand for Japan's post quake and tsunami reconstruction.
Sarawak, the third largest state in terms of GDP, recorded a growth of 5.4% last year as a result of several major infrastructure projects the government was implementing as part of the Score project.
Focusing on five major growth nodes — Tanjung Manis, Samalaju, Mukah, Baram and Tunoh — Score is a major initiative undertaken to develop the central region and transform Sarawak into a fully developed industrialised state by 2020.
To date, the corridor has attracted more than RM300 billion worth of investments.
Yeah said the availability of vast competitively priced land and rich reserves of natural resources has made Sarawak an attractive choice for manufacturing operations among investors.
Therefore, he said, it is important to speed up industrialisation in Sarawak to hasten its economic growth and raise the income level of the people.
Yeah said Score has greater potential for resource-intensive industry, mainly energy-intensive industry that would become the major contributor to speed up private investments in Malaysia.
He said Sarawak's Score will continue to provide an impetus for Malaysia to promote resource-based industry to meet the rising demand from global markets.
Sarawak's economy will also benefit from the higher allocation from the federal government for the rural infrastructure development under the Economic Transformation Programme. — Bernama
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