S’wak to focus on environmental sustainability

KUCHING: Environmental sustainability will be a key factor in Sarawak’s post-Covid-19 recovery efforts and long-term growth towards achieving developed state status by 2030, says the Chief Minister.

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this was in line with the growing importance of sustainability in investment decisions.

“Our emphasis on environmental sustainability will pave the way for more investment inflow to Sarawak that will create solutions, more green jobs and business opportunities to drive our economy in a sustainable manner,” he said when launching the state’s post-Covid-19 development strategy in conjunction with Sarawak Day yesterday.

Towards this end, Abang Johari said the state would develop a sustainable environment blueprint covering green and blue economy initiatives for activities on land, at sea and in coastal areas.

This will include developing a greenhouse gas inventory for all economic sectors and cities to identify major contributors of greenhouse emissions in order to formulate green economy initiatives.

Under the development plan, Abang Johari said the state’s economy was expected to double from RM136bil in 2019 to RM282bil in 2030 with an average annual growth of 6% to 8%.

He added that the plan would also create 200,000 high-paying jobs by 2030, while the monthly median household income was projected to increase from RM4,544 in 2019 to RM15,057 in 2030.

“We want Sarawak to recover from this pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy.

“This is to assure future generations of Sarawakians a happy, peaceful and prosperous state with opportunities for all, regardless of their racial, cultural and religious backgrounds, or the regions of the state they are from,” he said.

Abang Johari also said the first phase of the plan would be implemented under the 12th Malaysia Plan from 2021 to 2025.

He added that the state government had committed an estimated RM63bil to implement the plan, with RM30bil from direct development expenditure and RM33bil from alternative funding.

“In line with the plan’s strategic thrusts, the public capital spending will emphasise areas that yield the most economic, social and environmental impact.

He noted that the state government’s focus was to develop enablers such as basic infrastructure, namely roads and bridges, treated water and electricity supply, and telecommunication network.

“This will provide the foundation for us to leapfrog into the second phase of the plan, which is driven by talent, skills and innovation.

“This plan is really to prosper the state and its people, as well as to protect its environment for sustainable development,” Abang Johari added.

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