SCORE and agro-based industries help Sarawak’s economy maintain strong growth figures

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Despite the global downturn, Sarawak has maintained steady growth over the past few years helping the state to beat predictions and post strong figures.

Sarawak’s economy is one of the strongest among the 13 states of the Malaysian Federation with steady growth fuelled by traditional resource-based industries and fresh initiatives. With the implementation of long-term programmes, the government is predicting 500 per cent growth over the next 20 years.

In 2010, the state beat expectations with economic growth of 5.4, surpassing earlier projections of a 4.5 per cent increase as a result of the global slowdown.

The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) programme is one of the main drivers of growth as the state seeks to diversify its economy from agro-based to one that encompasses heavy industries, food security, technology and other services.

Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud is determined to move the state towards developed status by 2020 through SCORE and other programmes and has largely been successful in his efforts.

Malaysia’s largest state remains one of the world’s leading exporters of timber and LNG.

However, SCORE has helped to convince mega-players such as Japan’s Tokuyama, Rio Tinto Alcan, Sea Party International, from Taiwan, and a host of top Sarawak companies to invest in the region.

“In order to ensure sustainable growth, we need to widen our economic perspective and diversify our economy so that we are not dependent on traditional economic activities,” said Chief Minister Taib earlier this year.

“The transformation of the state economy is no longer an exercise to restructure the traditional economic sectors such as timber and agro-based industries. Instead, we are increasing value-added activities of timber and agriculture products such as transport and communications.

“Most importantly, the transformation must involve the creation of new sources of economic growth.”

According to the state government, the manufacturing sector was expected to achieve 4.5 per cent growth in 2010, after experiencing a contraction of 0.1% in 2009.  The expected growth is in keeping with the increase in global demand for goods Sarawak specialise in, particularly LNG and wood-based products.

Exports of manufactured goods recorded double-digit growth in the first half of 2011 at 21.6% while the manufacturing sector was expected to expand by 4.5 per cent in 2011.

There were also impressive performances for the construction, mining/quarrying, agriculture and services sectors in 2010.

The construction sector growth was predicted at 6.5%, boosted by the RM1 billion Special Federal Allocations and the construction of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, including the new Sabah-Sarawak gas pipeline and the Murum hydro-electric dam.

Construction for the Tenth Malaysia Plan was expected to expand this sector by 6 per cent in 2011.

The mining and quarrying sector forecast was 3.2 per cent growth in 2010 with increased production for natural gas, coal and silica sand in the first half of the year.

The production of natural gas grew by 17.4% arising from increased demand from domestic petro-chemical industries and major importing countries. The sector was expected to grow at 3.0% in 2011.

A key promise of the 2006 economic blueprint was to modernise the agricultural industry.

And the sector obliged by growing 5.2 per cent in 2010 as a result of the rebound in commodity prices and improved global demand.

This performance was considerably higher than the growth in Malaysian agriculture as a whole, which expanded by 3.4% in 2010.

The production of crude palm oil grew by 7.8% during the first half of 2010.  In 2011, the agriculture sector was anticipated to grow at a reduced pace at 4.3% because global demand was expected to soften.

Plywood exports were expected to increase by between 10 and 15 per cent in 2011, accounting for 53 per cent of the state’s total export values, or RM848 million. The first quarter of 2011 saw 588,152 cubic metres of plywood shipped out of Sarawak.

The second biggest commodity in terms of exports is log and there were 1.8 million cubic metres of the product sent overseas from Sarawak.

Palm oil is also a major export product for Sarawak and the state expected 15 per cent output growth to 2.5 million tonnes in 2011. The commodity is set to become a major part of Sarawak’s future exports with three million hectares of agricultural land yet to be cultivated.

In 2010, Malaysian Palm Oil Board data showed that both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah’s crude palm oil output fell by six per cent and three per cent to 9.5 million tonnes and 5.3 million tonnes, respectively. Sarawak’s production, however, went up by 9 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes.

The services sector was predicted to grow by 7.2 per cent in 2010 thanks to robust trading activities. For the first half of 2010, cargo-related activities at ports in Sarawak increased by 11.6% compared to the second half of the previous year.

The air transport segment grew as passenger volumes for all principal airports state-wide rose by an average of 9.5% and the air cargo handled increased by 23.1% during the same period.  Expected growth for this sector in 2011 was 6.4%.

The breakdown of Sarawak’s GDP share by sector for 2010 is 32.3 per cent for Services; Manufacturing (24.7 per cent); Mining and Quarrying (24.6 per cent); Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery (11.8 per cent); Forestry and Logging (3.4 per cent); and Construction (3.2 per cent).

In 2009, the State received RM11.546 billion in capital investment for manufacturing projects – RM9.936 billion Foreign and RM1.598 billion Domestic. The approved capital investment was mainly for Petroleum and Other Related Products (RM9.832 billion), Non-Metallic Mineral Products (RM753 million), Chemicals and Chemical Products (RM331 million) and Food (RM255 million).

The State produced 1,995,800 tonnes of Crude Palm Oil in 2009; 26,700 tonnes of Rubber; some 23,000 tonnes of Pepper (White and Black) and 1,300 tonnes of Cocoa Beans (raw and roasted).

Under the production of Forest and Forest Products, in 2009, the State produced 10,368,000 m3 of Saw Logs; 2,856,000 Poles; 2,480,000 m3 of Plywood; 1,037,000 m3 of Sawn Timber as well as other products such as Veneer, Woodchips, Laminated Boards, Mouldings/Dowels and Charcoal.

The state government is working on increasing the per capita income of the people of Sarawak from RM23, 796 in 2010 to RM50, 992 to enable the state to achieve a developed status by 2020.

Meanwhile, the government said SCORE would help Sarawak’s economy would grow more than 500% in the next 20 years by 2030, as more business opportunities in manufacturing, construction and services are taken up by investors in the Corridor.

Because of this activity, more than one million jobs will be created, rising from 949,100 in 2009 to 2.5 million by 2030.

SCORE is one of the five regional development corridors throughout Malaysia and will transform Sarawak into a developed state by the year 2020. It aims to accelerate the state’s economic growth, as well as improve the quality of life for the people of Sarawak.

Overseas interest is the key to the development of SCORE with approved investment now totalling about RM26.4 billion.

The Samalaju Industrial Park, dedicated to heavy and energy-intensive industries, has attracted manufacturers in aluminium, polycrystalline silicon, and minerals-based industries while the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub has already received RM2 billion worth of investment from Sea Party International as it promotes aquaculture, agriculture and food security.

While Sarawak remains a resource-based economy, the state’s finance sector is growing. Major commercial and merchant banks, finance companies, insurance firms and consultancies have established a strong presence in the state as Sarawakians with more disposable income seek ways to make their money grow.

Islamic finance, which shuns interest-based transactions, is also claiming a strong share of the market, attracting Muslim and non-Muslim investors who see greater returns in the sector than from conventional banking instruments.

The number of tourist arrivals to Sarawak has been increasing over the past few years with domestic tourism making up a major portion of visitors. Of the nearly 3.3 million tourists who visited Sarawak in 2010, peninsula Malaysia visitors accounted for 22 per cent while neighbouring Sabah provided 19 per cent of arrivals.

Brunei was the biggest tourism contributor outside Malaysia with close to 1.2 million visitors while Indonesia also had significant numbers.

Tourism, both domestic and international, was up 30 per cent in 2010 and, with more budget flights available from peninsula Malaysia and other Asian countries, the number of visitors is expected to increase steadily.

In terms of infrastructure, the state has started a programme of improvements designed to increase road, electricity and water supply coverage to rural areas.

The National Key Result Area for rural basic infrastructure will increase the length of roads to 21,250.5 km, electricity supply coverage to 95% and water supply coverage to 90% by 2012.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Despite the global downturn, Sarawak has maintained steady growth over the past few years helping the state to beat predictions and post strong figures.

Sarawak’s economy is one of the strongest among the 13 states of the Malaysian Federation with steady growth fuelled by traditional resource-based industries and fresh initiatives. With the implementation of long-term programmes, the government is predicting 500 per cent growth over the next 20 years.

In 2010, the state beat expectations with economic growth of 5.4, surpassing earlier projections of a 4.5 per cent increase as a result of the global slowdown.

The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) programme is one of the main drivers of growth as the state seeks to diversify its economy from agro-based to one that encompasses heavy industries, food security, technology and other services.

Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud is determined to move the state towards developed status by 2020 through SCORE and other programmes and has largely been successful in his efforts.

Malaysia’s largest state remains one of the world’s leading exporters of timber and LNG.

However, SCORE has helped to convince mega-players such as Japan’s Tokuyama, Rio Tinto Alcan, Sea Party International, from Taiwan, and a host of top Sarawak companies to invest in the region.

“In order to ensure sustainable growth, we need to widen our economic perspective and diversify our economy so that we are not dependent on traditional economic activities,” said Chief Minister Taib earlier this year.

“The transformation of the state economy is no longer an exercise to restructure the traditional economic sectors such as timber and agro-based industries. Instead, we are increasing value-added activities of timber and agriculture products such as transport and communications.

“Most importantly, the transformation must involve the creation of new sources of economic growth.”

According to the state government, the manufacturing sector was expected to achieve 4.5 per cent growth in 2010, after experiencing a contraction of 0.1% in 2009.  The expected growth is in keeping with the increase in global demand for goods Sarawak specialise in, particularly LNG and wood-based products.

Exports of manufactured goods recorded double-digit growth in the first half of 2011 at 21.6% while the manufacturing sector was expected to expand by 4.5 per cent in 2011.

There were also impressive performances for the construction, mining/quarrying, agriculture and services sectors in 2010.

The construction sector growth was predicted at 6.5%, boosted by the RM1 billion Special Federal Allocations and the construction of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, including the new Sabah-Sarawak gas pipeline and the Murum hydro-electric dam.

Construction for the Tenth Malaysia Plan was expected to expand this sector by 6 per cent in 2011.

The mining and quarrying sector forecast was 3.2 per cent growth in 2010 with increased production for natural gas, coal and silica sand in the first half of the year.

The production of natural gas grew by 17.4% arising from increased demand from domestic petro-chemical industries and major importing countries. The sector was expected to grow at 3.0% in 2011.

A key promise of the 2006 economic blueprint was to modernise the agricultural industry.

And the sector obliged by growing 5.2 per cent in 2010 as a result of the rebound in commodity prices and improved global demand.

This performance was considerably higher than the growth in Malaysian agriculture as a whole, which expanded by 3.4% in 2010.

The production of crude palm oil grew by 7.8% during the first half of 2010.  In 2011, the agriculture sector was anticipated to grow at a reduced pace at 4.3% because global demand was expected to soften.

Plywood exports were expected to increase by between 10 and 15 per cent in 2011, accounting for 53 per cent of the state’s total export values, or RM848 million. The first quarter of 2011 saw 588,152 cubic metres of plywood shipped out of Sarawak.

The second biggest commodity in terms of exports is log and there were 1.8 million cubic metres of the product sent overseas from Sarawak.

Palm oil is also a major export product for Sarawak and the state expected 15 per cent output growth to 2.5 million tonnes in 2011. The commodity is set to become a major part of Sarawak’s future exports with three million hectares of agricultural land yet to be cultivated.

In 2010, Malaysian Palm Oil Board data showed that both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah’s crude palm oil output fell by six per cent and three per cent to 9.5 million tonnes and 5.3 million tonnes, respectively. Sarawak’s production, however, went up by 9 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes.

The services sector was predicted to grow by 7.2 per cent in 2010 thanks to robust trading activities. For the first half of 2010, cargo-related activities at ports in Sarawak increased by 11.6% compared to the second half of the previous year.

The air transport segment grew as passenger volumes for all principal airports state-wide rose by an average of 9.5% and the air cargo handled increased by 23.1% during the same period.  Expected growth for this sector in 2011 was 6.4%.

The breakdown of Sarawak’s GDP share by sector for 2010 is 32.3 per cent for Services; Manufacturing (24.7 per cent); Mining and Quarrying (24.6 per cent); Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery (11.8 per cent); Forestry and Logging (3.4 per cent); and Construction (3.2 per cent).

In 2009, the State received RM11.546 billion in capital investment for manufacturing projects – RM9.936 billion Foreign and RM1.598 billion Domestic. The approved capital investment was mainly for Petroleum and Other Related Products (RM9.832 billion), Non-Metallic Mineral Products (RM753 million), Chemicals and Chemical Products (RM331 million) and Food (RM255 million).

The State produced 1,995,800 tonnes of Crude Palm Oil in 2009; 26,700 tonnes of Rubber; some 23,000 tonnes of Pepper (White and Black) and 1,300 tonnes of Cocoa Beans (raw and roasted).

Under the production of Forest and Forest Products, in 2009, the State produced 10,368,000 m3 of Saw Logs; 2,856,000 Poles; 2,480,000 m3 of Plywood; 1,037,000 m3 of Sawn Timber as well as other products such as Veneer, Woodchips, Laminated Boards, Mouldings/Dowels and Charcoal.

The state government is working on increasing the per capita income of the people of Sarawak from RM23, 796 in 2010 to RM50, 992 to enable the state to achieve a developed status by 2020.

Meanwhile, the government said SCORE would help Sarawak’s economy would grow more than 500% in the next 20 years by 2030, as more business opportunities in manufacturing, construction and services are taken up by investors in the Corridor.

Because of this activity, more than one million jobs will be created, rising from 949,100 in 2009 to 2.5 million by 2030.

SCORE is one of the five regional development corridors throughout Malaysia and will transform Sarawak into a developed state by the year 2020. It aims to accelerate the state’s economic growth, as well as improve the quality of life for the people of Sarawak.

Overseas interest is the key to the development of SCORE with approved investment now totalling about RM26.4 billion.

The Samalaju Industrial Park, dedicated to heavy and energy-intensive industries, has attracted manufacturers in aluminium, polycrystalline silicon, and minerals-based industries while the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub has already received RM2 billion worth of investment from Sea Party International as it promotes aquaculture, agriculture and food security.

While Sarawak remains a resource-based economy, the state’s finance sector is growing. Major commercial and merchant banks, finance companies, insurance firms and consultancies have established a strong presence in the state as Sarawakians with more disposable income seek ways to make their money grow.

Islamic finance, which shuns interest-based transactions, is also claiming a strong share of the market, attracting Muslim and non-Muslim investors who see greater returns in the sector than from conventional banking instruments.

The number of tourist arrivals to Sarawak has been increasing over the past few years with domestic tourism making up a major portion of visitors. Of the nearly 3.3 million tourists who visited Sarawak in 2010, peninsula Malaysia visitors accounted for 22 per cent while neighbouring Sabah provided 19 per cent of arrivals.

Brunei was the biggest tourism contributor outside Malaysia with close to 1.2 million visitors while Indonesia also had significant numbers.

Tourism, both domestic and international, was up 30 per cent in 2010 and, with more budget flights available from peninsula Malaysia and other Asian countries, the number of visitors is expected to increase steadily.

In terms of infrastructure, the state has started a programme of improvements designed to increase road, electricity and water supply coverage to rural areas.

The National Key Result Area for rural basic infrastructure will increase the length of roads to 21,250.5 km, electricity supply coverage to 95% and water supply coverage to 90% by 2012.

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