Business sector hopes for positive news in Sarawak's post-Covid-19 pandemic strategy

File photo showing Kuching city. — Borneo Post Online pic
File photo showing Kuching city. — Borneo Post Online pic

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KUCHING, July 21 — Business associations and operators are hopeful of positive news to be announced for the business community in the coming special address by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the state’s post-Covid-19 pandemic strategy tomorrow.

Sarawak Entrepreneurs Association (SEA) president Nizam Khalyd hoped that the announcement will focus on industrial and business-friendly policy, welfare, entrepreneurship, training, infrastructure, transportation and utilities.

“It is also expected that the state government will focus on digital economy, particularly on the initiative to build momentum in developing Sarawak’s economy and governance based on digital economy as a force multiplier to the virtual cycle of progress,” he said.

Nizam said SEA supports the state’s initiative to digitalise and innovate services such as big data, digital education, application and services, as these services are the new economy of the future.

He pointed out that the unveiling of post-Covid-19 development strategy by the chief minister is just in time as Sarawak is on track towards achieving herd immunity by late August.

“Entrepreneurs and the business community are looking forward to the post Covid-19 strategies to reignite economic growth.”

In addition, Nizam also hoped that the government will assist on the welfare of struggling entrepreneurs and micro enterprises which are badly hit by the pandemic, by providing education and training to adapt them to changing technologies.

Moreover, Business Events Sarawak (BE Sarawak) chief executive officer Amelia Roziman remarked that business events industry has immense potential to function as a platform in developing other sectors and industries.

This is because it indirectly contributes both economically and socially to the state’s revenue pool, she said.

“As we are one of the key components under Tourism in the Sarawak Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) from 2021 to 2030, Sarawak’s visibility and relevancy as a business events powerhouse will gain traction and importance with the post Covid-19 recovery and long-term plans in place.

“It is hoped that our key stakeholders and industry partners will continue supporting our endeavours all the way,” she said.

Sarawak Association of Spa, Reflexology and Wellness Operators president Dr May Then, meanwhile, said the pandemic had brought disastrous impact on the people’s health and livelihood, as well as the economy.

“I pray that after the successful vaccination rollout in the state, our government will handle this pandemic with new strategies, allowing all economic sectors to resume business operations so that livelihood can be protected,” said Dr Then.

Dr Then said she was also proud of the fact that Sarawak is the leading state for the vaccination programme in the country.

“Hopefully, the coming announcement by our chief minister will bring us to another level of hope and joy in terms of livelihood and economy.”

She suggested that State Disaster Management Committee should also provide reports based on daily ‘vaccinated hospitalisation’ cases rather than the usual positive cases, as many would be interested to know whether the protection accorded by Covid-19 vaccine was sufficient to live in co-existence with the virus.

A gymnasium operator, Level Up Fitness founder Kenny Sia, hoped the state government will provide assistance to support local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in expanding their business throughout the country.

“As a proud Sarawakian business owner, I would like to express my sincere wish to the chief minister to assist Sarawakian SMEs to expand our reach nationwide.”

Sia said the state was already home to many brilliant home-grown brands and entrepreneurs, and his gymnasium brand could already be found in Sabah, Johor and Terengganu, with potential markets in Brunei and West Kalimantan.

“I wish that Sarawak can consider setting up grants or programmes to help Sarawak SMEs ‘level up’ on digitalisation, branding, franchising and promotions for the purposes of business expansion outside Sarawak,” said Sia.

Abang Johari will be making a special address on ‘Sarawak Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030’ this Thursday (tomorrow) at 10am and it will be broadcast live via the state Public Communication Unit’s (Ukas) YouTube and Facebook channels.

It is expected the chief minister will be unveiling strategies towards achieving Sarawak’s developed status by 2030. — Borneo Post Online

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