KUCHING, Nov 26 ― Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the state government has chosen the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to lead the development of tourism products including the construction of new hotels and upgrading existing ones.
“The state government will help SEDC to develop and build new tourism products,” he said last night.
He said the state government is also keen to collaborate with the private sector on tourism development, which is one of the four priorities under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
“I met a corporate leader this morning (yesterday morning) who wanted to help us in tourism. I told him that if he waned to collaborate, it must be a serious collaboration,” he said at a dinner to celebrate the SEDC’s 47th anniversary.
“I don’t want they back out mid-way. If they want to collaborate, there must have serious collaboration,” he said, adding that such collaboration must be for a certain period to promote Sarawak as a tourism destination.
SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain, in his speech, said the SEDC is expected to invest RM4 billion to develop Santubong-Damai Peninsular into a major tourist destination.
He said the corporation is preparing a tourism masterplan to develop the peninsula.
“A total of 40 new attractions and development initiatives have been identified under the masterplan and these include new resorts, theme parks, cable car, jungle trails and trekking facilities, wellness and health enclaves, marina and commercial and residential properties,” he said.
Aziz said the SEDC wanted to transform the area into a bustling tourism destination, proposing to name it as Damai Resort City project.
He also said the SEDC is expected to deliver the Kuching Urban Transportation project comprising the Autonomous Rain Transit (ART) system in the “foreseeable future”.
He said the ART system and the hydrogen bus transportation system are among the initiatives undertaken by the state government to modernise Sarawak’s public transport system.
“We hope to roll-off our hydrogen buses to public use before the end of this year,” he said.
Aziz also said the SEDC will sign an agency agreement with a foreign manufacturer to supply the hydrogen buses in this region.
He said SEDC’s financial position at the corporate level remains strong, with total assets amounting to RM1.26 billion and reserves at RM718.2 million.
He added that at the group level, the total assets amounted to RM1.96 billion and its reserves were RM1.24 billion.