Sarawak chief minister Abang Johari Openg (right) at the soft launch of the Sarawak trade and tourism office at Robinson Road. (Photo: Amir Yusof)
SINGAPORE: The Sarawak state government is hoping to boost its economic ties with Singapore following the opening of a tourism and trade office at Robinson Road, said chief minister Abang Johari Openg on Thursday (Jun 20).
Speaking to media during the soft opening of the office, Mr Abang Johari expressed hope that the new office will help to distribute Sarawak’s products – including food produce, machinery, lubricants as well as mineral fuels – to the global market.
“Historically, Singapore has been our trading partner since the colonial period. We have been exporting our paper, rubber, sago flour to the world through Singapore … and this collaboration is set to continue,” he said.
He noted that Singapore is one of Sarawak’s key trading partners, and the state’s total export to Singapore in 2018 was RM1.2 billion (US$290 million). He added that Sarawak is looking to increase this number by 30 per cent in the next two years, and “a strategic move” to achieve this would be to set up the trade and tourism office.
The office, located at Singapore’s Central Business District, is an avenue for Sarawak enterprises to collaborate with Singapore’s business community, and leverage the city state’s strategic position as a global trade hub, Mr Abang Johari said.
To enhance logistics, the state government has also purchased a cargo plane to transport agricultural products between Sarawak and Singapore, the chief minister added.
He explained that the plane has three refrigerated containers, and would be able to bring fresh fruits and vegetables that may be sold at Singapore markets.
The office also provides a “one-stop centre” for visitors who are keen to know about Sarawak’s products and tourism packages and also serve as a promotion centre for holiday destinations such as Kuching, Miri and Sibu.
The centre has a digital interactive showcase that allows visitors to get more information on activities they can enjoy when they visit these destinations.
Traditional Sarawak goods, such as kueh lapis, bird’s nest as well as black pepper can also be purchased at the venue.
The office will be officially launched in August, and the event will coincide with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Government, Mr Abang Johari added.