Sarawak's Economy Beats Predictions With 5.4% Growth in 2010

By Asia Newswire, PRNE
Sunday, January 16, 2011

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, January 18, 2011 - Sarawak's economy has grown by approximately 5.4% in 2010
exceeding predictions made in May of a 4.5% increase. The growth is the
result of several major infrastructure projects the government is
implementing as part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)
project, which will develop a vast area of 230km and build industry in five
key areas in Sarawak by 2030; government initiatives to develop rural areas
and investment in the utilities.

Sarawak has undergone significant economic transformation under the
leadership of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and is steadily moving towards
achieving 'developed' nation status by 2020. The Chief Minister has succeeded
in transforming Sarawak from a state dependent on subsistence farming to a
modern industrialised region, emerging as a major economic player in South
East Asia

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said: "In order to ensure
sustainable growth, we need to widen our economic perspective and diversify
our economy so that we are not dependent on traditional economic activities.
The transformation of the State economy is no longer an exercise to
restructure the traditional economic sectors such as timber and agro-based
industries. Instead, we are increasing value-added activities of timber and
agriculture products such as transport and communications. Most importantly,
the transformation must involve the creation of new sources of economic

The manufacturing, construction, mining/quarrying, agriculture
and services sectors have all recorded impressive growth in 2010:

The manufacturing sector is expected to achieve 4.5% growth in
2010, after experiencing a contraction of 0.1% in 2009. The growth is in
tandem with the surge in global demand, particularly for Sarawak's LNG and
wood-based products. Exports of manufactured goods recorded double-digit
growth in the first half of this year at 21.6%. Manufacturing is expected to
grow by 4.5% in 2011.

The construction sector growth is predicted at 6.5% in 2010,
helped by the RM1.0 billion Special Federal Allocations and the construction
of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, including the new Sabah-Sarawak
gas pipeline and the Murum hydro-electric dam. Construction for the Tenth
Malaysia Plan is expected to expand this sector by 6% in 2011.

The mining and quarrying sector forecast is 3.2% growth in
2010 with increased production for natural gas, coal and silica sand in the
first half of the year. The production of natural gas grew by 17.4% arising
from increased demand from domestic petro-chemical industries and major
importing countries. The sector is expected to grow at 3.0% in 2011.

The agriculture sector is expected to reach 5.2% growth in
2010 as a result of the rebound in commodity prices and improved global
demand. The production of crude palm oil grew by 7.8% during the first half
of 2010. In 2011, the agriculture sector is anticipated to grow more slowly
at 4.3% as global demand is expected to soften during the year.

The services sector is expected to grow by 7.2% in 2010 with
robust trading activities. For the first half of 2010, cargo-related
activities at ports in Sarawak increased by 11.6% compared to the second half
of the previous year. The air transport segment grew as passenger volumes for
all principal airports state-wide rose by an average of 9.5% and the air
cargo handled increased by 23.1% during the same period. Expected growth for
this sector in 2011 is 6.4%.

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