Development Bank of Sarawak to be set up soon

KUCHING: Sarawak will set up its own development bank to accelerate economic growth in the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg (pix).

He said the Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) will be owned and operated by the state government.

According to Abang Johari, the setting up of the bank, which had been approved by Bank Negara, will be carried out immediately.

"The bank will be operated on a financial model that will help fund strategic projects in line with the state's socio-economic transformation catch-up plan (2017-2030).

"In the process, the state will ensure successful and prudent operation of DBOS," he told a press conference after closing the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference here on Tuesday.

Abang Johari said the bank's main objective was to ensure that revenue generated from financing strategic projects would prosper the state economy and the people.

He said the strategic projects would be in the four key sectors of ICT infrastructure, energy, urban public transportation and services.

"It will give loans in these strategic areas only. It will not undertake or advertise for public deposits," he said, adding that the bank's initial capital would come from the state government, with the amount to be announced later.

In his speech earlier, the Chief Minister also announced that the state will set up the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to regulate the development of ICT infrastructure and digital economy utilisation.

Under the proposed SMA, the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation will be established to coordinate all digital economy initiatives including infrastructure, e-government, e-commerce, talent development and cyber security.

The Bill to establish the SMA will likely be tabled at the year-end State Legislative Assembly sitting.

Abang Johari added that the state government is committed to developing ICT infrastructure for faster speed and promoting Sarawak as a place to host data centres.

"We will also establish a workshop to brainstorm on the outcome of the conference and chart our roadmap so that Sarawak becomes a centre of digital economy.

"As the sixth chief minister, I will make sure that this is done for the sake of Sarawak and its people," he said.