KUCHING, Jan 24 — Sarawak was able to attract RM15.7 billion in investments in the manufacturing sector in 2020, which is one of the highest in Malaysia, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, said the state’s International Trade and Investment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

He also said four existing multinational corporations in Sama Jaya industrial zone here had expanded their business operations with RM6.3 billion in investments, while another corporation in Bintulu’s Samalaju industrial park had invested an additional RM1.3 billion on its expansion.

“Their decision to continue expanding their businesses in Sarawak, especially during this pandemic, clearly reflects their strong confidence in our state leadership, and in the way we manage the pandemic and the economy,” he said at Sarawak State Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021 Presentation Ceremony.

At the same time, he said the state continued to engage with potential foreign investors through video conferencing for large-scale green hydrogen fuel production, petrochemicals, chemicals and energy intensive industries, from Australia, China and South Korea.

On the awards, Awang Tengah, who is a deputy chief ministers, said the programme was a collaboration between his Ministry, Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), and Ernst and Young (EY) since 2004.

He said the awards recognised the accomplishments of local entrepreneurs in various fields, not just entrepreneurial excellence but also corporate social responsibility.

“I would like to thank SCCI and EY for being our valued partners to promote greater entrepreneurship in Sarawak and I hope SCCI will continue to play an important role as the bridge between the private sector and the government.

“The government values the contribution of the business communities where the majority of our entrepreneurs are small medium enterprises (SMEs). The federal and state governments understand and empathise with the people on their hardships during this challenging time caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

“At the same time, we also plan ahead together with all the business chambers for the recovery of the economy under the Post Covid Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030),” he said.

He also commended the business chambers and business communities for working together with the government on the industry vaccination centre programme (PPVIN) that enabled Sarawak to achieve a high vaccination rate within a short period of time.

“This goes to show that when we are united and when we focus our energy and resources on the same objective, we can achieve wonders,” he said.