Premier: Sarawak will continue to look towards China as a friend, trading partner
27 Sep 2023
Sarawak will continue to look towards China as a friend and a trading partner, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Abang Johari said China is an important trading partner for Sarawak, second only to Peninsula Malaysia, and the trade volume had reached RM37 billion in 2022 compared to RM27 billion in 2021 and RM21 billion in 2020.
“Sarawak exports to China was worth RM25 billion while imports were valued at RM12 billion in 2022,” he added.
Abang Johari’s text of speech was delivered by state Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin at a celebration of the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China held at a local restaurant last night.
Adding on, Abang Johari said the over one billion population in China presented an enormous opportunity for Sarawak’s products and the huge market should be explored to transform the state into a net food exporter by 2030.
“The economic collaboration between China and Sarawak has always been on the right footing as there is substantial Chinese participation and investment in the infrastructure and construction sectors, manufacturing and agriculture in Sarawak.”
Abang Johari pointed out the first three units of the hydrogen-powered buses and hydrogen-powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) trams are fabricated in China.
“The ART prototype is undergoing trials now and we will be ordering 38 more units to modernise our public transportation system in Kuching.”
Abang Johari said relations between Sarawak, or Borneo, and China can be dated back to ancient times through trade, and the artefacts found in many parts of the state have proven the existence of such relationship.
He remarked the relationship was further strengthened with the setting up of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kuching in 1994.
“The Consulate-General has been an important feature of Sarawak-China relations, especially in facilitating trade and investment.”
He hoped there will be more cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Sarawak, as well as welcoming Chinese tourists to experience the tourism products in the state.
“We especially welcome our friends from China to appreciate our blend of culture, where the Dayaks, Malays and Chinese have learnt to live alongside each other in peace and harmony.”
Abang Johari said he felt that the people of Chinese origin in Sarawak, and in the country as a whole, are a unique group of people who practise the culture of their ancestors away from mainland China.
Abang Johari also said the open-door policy as championed by the China’s president Deng Xiao Peng in the early 1980s has led to the phenomenal rise of China as a world economic powerhouse and second only to the United States of America, if not bigger.
“On this special occasion, on behalf of the people of Sarawak, I must congratulate China for its tremendous success that was achieved only in a matter of 40 years,” said Abang Johari.
Source: Borneo Post