LAUNCH OF 13th WIEF
“DISRUPTIVE CHANGE: IMPACT AND CHALLENGES”
PULLMAN HOTEL, KUCHING, SARAWAK
13 JULY 2017
SPEECH BY YB DATUK AMAR AWANG TENGAH ALI HASAN,
DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER, SARAWAK
Greeting and Salutations
YABhg Tun Musa Hitam , Chairman, WIEF Foundation
YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohamad Morshidi bin Abdul Ghani, Sarawak State Secretary
YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Ahmad Fuzi Haji Abdul Razak, Secretary General, WIEF Foundation
YBhg Datuk Syed Abu Bakar bin S Mohsin Almohdzar, Managing Director, WIEF Foundation
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Before we begin, allow me to first convey the Sarawak Chief Minister’s regret for being unable to grace this event due to prior commitments.
I would also like to record my appreciation to the WIEF Foundation for their invitation to officiate in the Chief Minister’s stead today’s launch of the 13th WIEF’s theme; Disruptive Change, Impact and Challenges.
Sarawak Plays Host to the 13th WIEF
As the state of Sarawak kicks into high gear to accommodate our international guests attending the 13th WIEF this year, we can’t help but wonder at what an opportune moment this is – both for the WIEF as well as the state of Sarawak.
As we all know, the WIEF is a gem gifted to the world by Malaysia 13 years ago, a platform that promotes economic collaboration and mutually beneficial growth between various economies from around the world.
13 years hence, we understand that the WIEF today stands at a tipping point of its existence as it seeks to play a deeper and more impactful role in shining a light on and providing direction for lasting collaborations between nations and businesses to positively impact communities around the world. This is indeed a shared objective of the state and we look forward to realise them through our relationship with the WIEF.
Parallels between Sarawak and WIEF
As mentioned by the chairman, disruption is taking place rapidly and comes in many forms today. It is very timely that the WIEF is looking to address impact and challenges in key verticals such as Disruptive Science, Technology and Innovation, Halal Consumables and Services, Islamic Finance and Law, Arts, Culture and Design as well as Entrepreneurship and Emerging Spaces.
These verticals parallel’s Sarawak’s own transformative journey as we forge ahead in the development and economic transformation of the State towards a High Income Economy as well as achieving a developed State status by 2030.
In this regard, the State of Sarawak has made great strides towards these lofty goals – the latest initiative of which is underscored by the state’s commitment of RM1bil in an ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure to support digital industries and e-commerce.
In addition to representing a shift away from our traditional economy driven by extractive and industrial activities, this is in line with the state’s goal in building an economy that is at once productive, equitable yet sustainable.[i]
In addition to spearheading the state’s own development, for example via the establishment of the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC), we will also look to attracting investments from industries that align with our values and goals.
It is indeed the manner in which Sarawak seeks to further its progress that we see a critical and fundamental similarity between what the WIEF and the state government wishes to achieve; sustainable economic growth brought about through uniting nations, driving businesses and impacting communities in pervasive and long-lasting ways.
Disruptive Change; Impact and Challenges
As we enter into an increasingly challenging phase of our transformation journey, it is imperative that we highlight key areas of challenges as well as the opportunities they represent.
While we are quite pleased with Sarawak’s progress and achievement to date, there is still much to be done where the State government will not be able to do it alone.
With a challenging and competitive global economy, the resilience of our State economy in the coming years will also determine how far we can attain rapid and sustained economic growth and development. Some of the major challenges that we are currently facing are:
A slowing world economy especially in the Euro area and the Asian region particularly in China and Japan; Lower commodity prices; and
Higher cost of living and cost of doing business.
These are economic fundamentals that are being impacted by disruption on all fronts as we are now operating in a world which is highly dynamic and volatile.
Indeed, we ought to continuously broaden our economic base, enhance our knowledge, upgrade our skills, be more efficient, productive and innovative in order for us to remain competitive.
We must inculcate a more pervasive culture of good governance and uphold the highest level of integrity. At the same time, be agile and vigilant in facing emerging external challenges arising from global and regional competitions, and the increasing volatility in the world economy.
WIEF and Sarawak Synergy
Fortuitously, the WIEF has become known as a platform for discourse that will provide insight and direction not only on these areas but also open up avenues of opportunities for other growth vectors.
What’s more, the growth of the WIEF over its 13 years promises a diversity of viewpoints and opinions that will further provide a higher level of strength, when it comes to conducting discussions on both problem and opportunity areas for economies of all sizes and maturity.
In this respect, we see the people of Sarawak standing to gain much, in playing host to the WIEF’s international participants.
More importantly however, are the learnings that we have ourselves harvested over the years of our own journey of transformation.
Indeed, we take great pride that the State has been able to achieve its present level of development as a result of our ability to manage our resources effectively and our continuous efforts to promote unity and harmony among our people.
This reflects the resilience and the strength of our people, our social unity and our political stability – critical learning points that we are more than happy to share on the WIEF platform.
Looking forward to playing host to the 13th WIEF
In summation, I recall a resolution made by our Chief Minister; On the part of the Government and the people, for us to ride through this challenging economic environment together, it is very important for us to be agile, resilient, productive, efficient and remain united.
We look forward to welcoming the 13th WIEF to the state of Sarawak as well as to contribute towards this nexus of insightful and impactful discourse in the months to come.
On behalf of the Chief Minister and the people of Sarawak, I thank you all for joining us here today and welcome you to Sarawak for the 13th WIEF.
Thank you and have a great afternoon ahead.