Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg in his recent Chinese New Year message said Sarawak sets its sights on achieving three pivotal strategic goals in 2024. The state aims to take over Bintulu Port from the federal government, establish its own airline, and secure a significant stake in a commercial bank.
Highlighting the significance of reclaiming Bintulu Port, Abang Johari emphasised the constitutional prerogative and the strategic imperative for Sarawak. “After 43 years of its establishment, we want to take back Bintulu Port. This is not only because it should be under Sarawak’s authority according to the Constitution, but also because Sarawak needs to comprehensively plan its port development, which encompasses the whole of Sarawak, including its resource-rich hinterland,” he said.
The move mirrors Sarawak’s successful endeavor in taking control of Bakun Hydro, enabling the state to determine its power tariff and attract investment in energy-intensive industries. By reclaiming Bintulu Port, Sarawak aims to strategically plan its port infrastructure development, fostering economic growth and maximising the potential of its land.
Additionally, Sarawak aspires to establish its own airline, recognising the importance of air connectivity in facilitating tourism, business, and investment. “Sarawak is situated on an island and the only way to bring people in is to fly them in. I hope we can finalise the negotiation with the federal authorities soon, and gain control of the airline this year,” he said.
Moreover, Sarawak seeks to secure a major stake in a commercial bank, aiming to provide a financial platform to bolster the economy further. Abang Johari expressed confidence in concluding negotiations soon to actively participate in the running of the bank, aligning with Sarawak’s interest in supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship, Bernama reported.