Malaysia’s largest state, Sarawak, is targeting five per cent GDP growth in 2012, the chief minister of Sarawak told Gulf Business.
As the government pushes to modernise the state, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud is aiming high: “We would be quite happy to attract $3 billion more in foreign direct investment.”
Speaking at the Inside Investor Asia forum, held in Doha, Qatar, he said: “Qatar has a reputation as a big investor internationally and I came here to give an introduction of what we have to offer.”
“We are now into heavy industries, we are able to give a comparable advantage to energy-intensive industries, with our access to hydros. We are changing: we want to attract aluminium, metal alloys, aquaculture, and palm oil investment. We also want to become a halal hub.”
“We have steadily built our value-add proposition, even though there has been competition with many South Asian countries. Some of them have basic products and their standard is not very high so we don’t want to compete with them; we have high-grade specifications.”
The Gulf is gearing up to tap the vast resources of the ASEAN region. The 10-nation bloc is expected to become a $10 trillion economy by 2030, dwarfing China’s current $7.2 billion.
Qatar has so far dished out capital to the Malaysian financial services industry, Singapore’s hospitality sector, farming projects in Thailand and Cambodia, tourism complexes in Myanmar and Laos and a planned mining project in the Philippines.