Speech By Honourable Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, Chief Minister of Sarawak at the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Opening Session


Nov  21st


Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Mohamad Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

It is my great pleasure to welcome everyone to this 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in this Kuching City, the capital city of Sarawak, which is also known as the City of Unity. I am delighted to see many country leaders, leading industry players and innovators, investors, academicians and professionals from all around the world congregate here for this auspicious event.

I am truly honoured that Sarawak has been chosen to host this 13th Edition of the World Islamic Economic Forum. I would like to record my deepest appreciation especially to the Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Mohamad Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia who is also the Patron for the WIEF Foundation as well as to the Honourable Tun Musa Hitam, the Chairman of WIEF Foundation, for their trust in the Sarawak Government to host this prestigous event.

I am pleased that WIEF has chosen the theme “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges” for this year forum in Sarawak. The theme is very timely and well aligned to our aspiration to transform our economy capitalising on digital technology.

As the Chief Minister of Sarawak, I have personally driven our efforts to leapfrog the State’s development through the Digital Economy. I believe, the Digital Economy will generate new jobs and opportunities for our entrepreneurs by creating greater efficiency in the way we do business. The enhancement in our economy will accelerate the growth, increase our wealth and turn Sarawak into a developed and high income State by 2030.

Disruptive Change in the form of technological advancements have transformed our lives, creating new opportunities and altering conventional industries.

Sarawak is not spared from this disruptive change and we must equiped ourselves with necessary skills and knowledge to face the impacts and challenges brought about by disruptive change.

However, on the positive note, the opportunity brought by this disruptive change has level the playing fields in the technology and economic sectors.

The advent of new disruptive technologies also breaks the dominance of existing products and businesses while providing room for new products to be successful.

I strongly believed that Sarawak economy need to be further diversified as well as to be transformed to achieve this vision. Digital Economy will be a strong platform and the catalyst for Sarawak to reach out to global business community as well as to forge international collaboration. The Government of Sarawak will do everything possible to transform Sarawak into a Digital Economy powerhouse.

Through this forum, I hope that we can discuss ways and means, identify opportunities and solutions as well as forging collaborations that are beneficial to all.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Sarawak is strategically located between the eastern region and the western region of the world. Being an integral part of a fast developing nation, Sarawak over the years has been able to positioned itself as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the ASEAN region.

While other parts of the world are facing geo political tensions and humanitarian crisis, our Nation as well as Sarawak has been able to maintain peace and harmony. This stability has been our linchpin over the years in developing the State.

Sarawak is endowed with vast natural resources, agricultural land, fisheries and mineral. In addition, we have modern and reliable infrastructure and utilities with efficient and business friendly Government.

We also have young, productive, diligent and English speaking trainable workforce. Sarawak’s labour force can provide educated, skilled, semi-skilled, and young workers to meet the needs of a high-technology business environment.

Sarawak has safe, clean and pleasant working and living conditions. Standards of living have improved significantly over the past two decades, and foreign investors and their families can be assured of a high quality of life.

With all modern facilities and amenities, visitors from abroad will find it easy to blend in with the local community and adapt to the culture.

With the support and cooperation of the State and Federal government, domestic and international corporation sectors, Sarawak not only can realise its full development potential but can also play an important role as the key hubs for regional cooperation and economic integration in the region.

In order to further accelerate the economic growth in Sarawak, we had also set up the Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS), established our own petroleum company called Petroleum Sarawak (PETROS) and formed the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA).

I would like to express my gratitude again to WIEF for including Sarawak as one of the many line up host which in the past has included Kuwait, Jakarta, Astana, London and Dubai.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank again all leaders and delegates for making your time in Kuching and we hope to welcome you back to Sarawak in the near future.

Thank you.