2010 Economic and Social Indicators Realise Sarawak Government's 2006 Manifesto Promises

Mar 08, 2011, 20:59 ET from Asia Newswire

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 2010 saw a substantial increase in economic output across key sectors and dramatic gains in standards of living for Sarawakians, adding weight to the state Government's economic and social policies. In 2006, the Government embarked on a comprehensive reform agenda designed to deliver a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Sarawak. The targets set out in 2006 have been met with a staunch determination to achieve results for the people of Sarawak, and 2011 will see further improvements.

In 2010 Sarawak saw impressive economic growth, despite the continued threat of the global financial crisis, with GDP expanding by 5.4% and public investment up by 18.9%. The economy is also expected to grow at a similar rate this year. This growth can largely be attributed to government policies designed to attract investment and new 'mega projects', as set out in the 2006 manifesto. To achieve this, the State Government has promoted the development of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said: "The Government of Sarawak has worked tirelessly to achieve a better standard of living for everyone. Since 2006, the Government has laid firm foundations on which strong economic growth can be maintained, and on which we can continue to build a more prosperous society."

SCORE is one of five regional development corridors throughout Malaysia, with its overall objective to transform Sarawak into a developed state by 2020. At the very heart of SCORE are new hydropower projects that will facilitate the growth and development of new industries, education and research centres, infrastructure projects, and residential and commercial developments. These in turn will bring increased job opportunities and grant access to sophisticated and advanced educational facilities to an ever growing number of people.

The State Government has always recognised that education is a vital component of ensuring the prosperity of Sarawak. Over the last five years, the Government has been committed to providing better educational and training programmes in order to equip Sarawakians with the sufficient skills base required to cater for the jobs created by SCORE. More public expenditure will be spent on manpower development and training programmes to cater for these new jobs.

The results of the Government's initiatives are clearly shown through dramatic increases in GDP per capita income and rises in disposable income. Since 1963, GDP per capita has increased by more than 48 times from RM690 to RM33,912 in 2009. Furthermore, the number of people living in poverty has dropped sharply from 31.9% in 1985 to only 5.3% in 2009. In 2010 Sarawakians were also wealthier than ever, enjoying much higher levels of disposable income. Private consumption expanded by 3.7% and imports of consumer goods increased by 11%. Spending on consumer durables also increased by 8.5%. These figures are set to improve even further this year and beyond as the Government aims to further transform the State into a capital-intensive and knowledge-based economy.

The Government aims to make Sarawak a prosperous place for all to live, with projects targeted to improve the lives of people in the cities and rural communities alike. A key promise of the 2006 manifesto was to modernise the agricultural industry, and as a result of investment initiatives this sector grew by 5.2% in 2010. This performance was considerably higher than the growth in Malaysian agriculture as a whole, which expanded by 3.4% last year. The State also began work in 2010 on a new programme of improvements designed to increase road, electricity and water supply coverage to rural areas. The National Key Result Area for rural basic infrastructure will increase the length of roads to 21,250.5 km, electricity supply coverage to 95% and water supply coverage to 90% by 2012.

SOURCE Asia Newswire