KUCHING: Having constant dialogues between the government and private sector is key to ensuring Sarawak’s economic development remain on the right track to become a developed state by 2030.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said business bodies such as the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) must work together with the government to provide constructive views and consultation to enable the state economic transformation programme to succeed.
In a speech read by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian at the ACCCIS Chinese New Year dinner here on Friday, Abang Johari commented that the private sector was the machinery driving the economy.
He added that the duty of the government was to create an ecosystem conducive for commerce and industry to thrive.
“The government is always willing to listen and talk to the private sector to enhance the climate of doing business from time to time.
“If there are procedures that are not necessary and hampering the ease of doing business, the government is always ready to do away with such procedures,” his speech read.
Abang Johari added that the government also had the duty to protect the rights and interests of the people at large, especially consumers and workers.
“In that sense, the government, when considering changes to procedures and policies, has to weigh everything carefully so that no one is shortchanged or interest and welfare jeopardised,” he continued.
Dr Sim, on his personal note, said he would bring up labour and manpower issues affecting various sectors in Sarawak to the Human Resources Ministry.
He also agreed that electricity tariff in Sarawak should be lowered further to support local business community and industries. This included having discussion with the state cabinet on land policies.
“Government needs to support the private sector and business communities such as members of ACCCIS, not competing with them. We must complement each other to develop the state,” Dr Sim said.
ACCCIS president Lee Khoi Yun, in his speech earlier, hoped the state could look at the Employment Mandatory Commitment and Employment Insurance Scheme that came into force, as well as the revision of the minimum wage on July 1.
He hoped the minimum wage could be maintained at status quo for the next revision in view of the escalating cost of doing business and current economic situation.
Lee urged the state to review the current electricity tariff for local consumers with the aim that the new rate was lower or similar to the tariff enjoyed by giant foreign companies.
“ACCCIS calls upon the state to review land policy to ease the rising cost of land and to expedite the renewal of lease and rates to maximise the multiplier effect from land development to boost the state’s economy,” he continued.
“ACCCIS strongly recommended a single-window mechanism, on an urgent basis, to be set up to simplify procedures of recruitment and shorten approval period in employment of foreign workers to help solve labour shortage and illegal workers issue in the state,” he added.