Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud Realising Dream of a Developed Sarawak

By Sarawak Government, PRNE
Monday, January 10, 2011

Plans in Place to Grow GDP by 5.5% and Create 1.5 Million Jobs

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, January 11, 2011 - Sarawak has undergone an impressive economic transformation under the
leadership of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and is steadily moving towards
achieving 'developed' nation status by 2020.

Abdul Taib Mahmud was appointed Chief Minister in 1981 and over the past
three decades has transformed Sarawak from an agricultural state to an
up-and-coming economic player in Malaysia. On his return to Sarawak from
South Australia in 1963, where he qualified as a lawyer from Adelaide
University, Abdul Taib Mahmud joined the State Legislative Council and was
determined from then on to achieve his aspirations of developing the economy
and raising the quality of life for the people of Sarawak. In the 1960s, this
feat seemed almost unimaginable, as Sarawak has about 30 ethnic groups spread
over 124,449 square kilometres.

Abdul Taib Mahmud's political resume is exhaustive, having held
legislative and executive positions at the state and federal level since
1963. He has been involved in Sarawak's development since independence in
1963, and under his tenure the state's economy has developed significantly.
GDP growth leapt from RM527 million in 1963 to RM26,016 million in 2009. In
1985, 31.9% of the population was living in poverty, by 2009 this dropped to
5.3%. In 1980, only 31.8% of people of Sarawak had water supply, in 1995 it
grew to 69% and 95% by 2009. The unemployment rate in Sarawak for 2010 was
estimated at 4.5% and the figure has remained relatively steady since the
1980s, even as the state's labour force continues to grow.

In 2008, the Chief Minister launched the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable
Energy (SCORE); an initiative to develop the central region into an
energy-intensive industrial corridor, thereby positioning Sarawak as a new
economic force in Malaysia. SCORE is set to intensify development of
infrastructure, utilities and social amenities and contribute towards greater
growth, development and diversification of the economy. The plan will run
until 2030 with the aim of creating 1.5 million jobs and reach a per-capita
GDP growth of 5.5% per annum.

In addition, Abdul Taib Mahmud's government has invested heavily in human
capital, with changes underway throughout the educational system to prepare a
more competitive workforce. Focus is now on technical and vocational
training, apart from critical thinking and soft skills development, and there
are also more opportunities for students to pursue a higher education in
Sarawak's four universities; Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti
Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Swinburne University of Technology and Curtin
University of Technology
. Overall, the literacy rate has risen from 30% at
independence to 95% today. In commemoration of his achievements in this area,
the Chief Minister was presented with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the
Asia HRD Congress in July 2010.

Finally, the Chief Minister has implemented several social integration
and development plans to redress the balance between rural and urban areas,
encouraging the traditional industries of rural areas as well as improving
access to electricity, communications, clean water, education and health

"We have been successful in our vision, the state is peaceful
and we have the unity of the people. We have a strong sense of harmony that
transcends differences in ethnicities and religious beliefs. We have been
able to meet the hopes and aspirations of the people who were poor to become
people who can look forward to the future and nurture high ambitions to
achieve greater success in life. Before, the state did not have a university
but now it can boast four. If we have unity and determination, we will have
the richest state in the whole of Malaysia by the year 2030. This is the
dream of all the people, this is the dream of all responsible politicians,
this is my dream."

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