18 projects, worth more than RM11bil, approved in first nine months

Ahmad (left) being welcomed by officials on his visit to state agencies under his ministry in Kuching. – Photo: ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak has received RM11.76bil worth of capital investment in the first nine months of the year, placing the state second only to Johor.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the amount comprised RM11.15bil in domestic investment and RM608.5mil in foreign investment.

“Sarawak continues to be an attractive destination for investors. Investment in the state has shown an increase over the years, from RM8.45bil in 2011 to RM4.7bil in 2012, RM8.28bil in 2013 and RM9.64bil last year,” he told reporters after visiting state agencies under the ministry here yesterday.

Ahmad said major investment locations in Sarawak included Bintulu, Sibu, Kuching, Tanjung Manis and Samalaju.

He said 18 projects had been approved in the state this year from January to September, creating a total of 1,470 job opportunities.

“The projects are for manufacturing products such as liquid natural gas, liquid biofertiliser, oil palm fibre, metal roofing, solar cells, drinking water, sawdust briquettes and magnesium ingots,” he said.

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) state director Ruhizam Idris said the competitive cost of electricity was one factor why investors were keen to come to Sarawak.

“Our investment focus is the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) which requires energy-intensive heavy industries, so investors see Sarawak as a suitable destination,” he said.

He added that both the federal and state governments also offered incentives to attract investors, such as tax exemptions and low land cost.

On Sarawak’s trade performance, Ahmad said the state’s exports increased by 7% last year to RM116.67bil compared with RM108.4bil in 2013.

As for this year, the state’s export value stood at RM66.82bil from January to September.

Its major exports for the past four years were resource-based products such as natural gas, petroleum, palm oil, pepper, timber and logs as well as wood-based products like plywood, composite board and charcoal.

Peninsular Malaysia is one of the state’s major export destinations as many companies there source their raw materials or ingredients from the state.

Other destinations include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Asean countries, amounting to about 70% of the state’s total exports for the past four years.

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