The State Planning Unit of Sarawak is the Sarawak State government Central Agency charged with mapping out the state’s future direction in terms of socio-economic growth. It has a number of objectives and functions and is the key agency behind the SCORE development plan.
The Sarawak State Planning Unit (SPU) is the state government’s official agency tasked with taking the lead in planning for the sustainable development of Sarawak as it strives to become a developed state by 2020.
Emboldened by a vision to be a model state development planning agency with a culture of excellence, integrity and professionalism, the SPU has successfully led the way in mapping Sarawak’s future through short-term, medium-term and long-term development plans.
By far its most ambitious project, steered by the Chief Minister, is SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), which is aimed at diversifying the state’s economy and helping the people of Sarawak achieve higher incomes.
At the helm of SPU is its Director, Dato Haji Ismawi bin Haji Ismuni, an experienced government stalwart who has been with the administration since 1983 and joined SPU in 2006.
The SPU was first established in 1972 out of the remnants of the Economy Planning Section of the State Financial Office. Coming under the State Ministry of Finance in 1977, the SPU was merged with the State Development Office in 1983 to form the Department of Development.
In August 2004, the SPU was put directly under the State Secretary before coming under the supervision of the Deputy State Secretary (Planning and Development) in July 2006.
The objectives of the SPU are manifold with an over-riding theme of planning for a future in which Sarawak and its people can benefit socially and economically from an array of development programmes.
A key condition is that growth is spread equitably across all regions and cultures of Sarawak.
The SPU is also responsible for planning for the state transformation from a resource-based economy to a k-economy (knowledge) and to ensure that development agenda of the Ministries and agencies are in line with the State’s development plan.
It is also entrusted to plan for the development of human capital, in tandem with its k-economy ambitions, while also ensuring that socio-economic development complements the policies and practices of sustainable resource and environmental management.
A key role is to enhance social harmony and cohesion within a diverse socio-cultural environment involving more than 30 ethnic and sub-ethnic cultures.
The SPU, in addition, promotes the increasing use of ICT products and services towards the development of a state e-economy and activates structured and coordinated research and development programmes in order to create value added products that strengthens the state’s GDP.
Regional co-operation with groups such as BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines) and SOSEK-MALINDO (Malaysia-Indonesia border) is also encouraged. This also includes the latest bilateral economic cooperation between Sarawak and Brunei.
The SPU has a number of other functions, such as:
- Formulating the state’s socio-economic development policies and priorities at the macro, sectorial and regional level, especially involving the State Five-Year Development Plan in line with the national development agenda.
- Advising the state government on macro, sectorial and regional socio-economic issues especially in the area of economic growth and distribution.
- Developing, managing, analysing and disseminating information from the state macro, sectorial and regional database that is relevant to socio-economic and resource development and management.
- Initiating, managing and coordinating the master plan and feasibility studies, and assessing socio-economic initiatives and reporting its findings and proposals to the state government.
- Coordinating all socio-economic Research and sourcing and managing Foreign Technical Assistance.
- Serving as secretariat to various planning councils and committees at the state level.
The SPU is organised into a number of sectors, namely: Macroeconomic; & Distribution; Urban & Regional Development; Manpower & Social Development; Infrastructure, Utility & Communication Development; Industry, Tourism & Commerce; Agriculture & Rural Development; Digital Spatial & Information Management; Environment & Natural Resources; Market Research; and Administration & Finance