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Sarawak as the first Legacy Capital in Malaysia and Borneo, announces Premier of Sarawak

The Right Honourable Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, speaks about the government’s vision and how business events play a role in materialising the dream.

Sarawak will establish and position itself as Malaysia and Borneo’s first legacy capital for business events in the wake of Indonesia’s new capital city development on Borneo, announced the Premier of Sarawak, The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg at the 10th Anak Sarawak Awards organised by Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak).

The industry’s role now is to drive sustainable, purpose-driven business events and strategically prioritise topics that fall within the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030. As explained by the Premier, the old narrative of measuring business event success purely by its return on investment and economic values is no longer relevant.

Instead, the new narrative of Sarawak’s business events would be to measure according to its return on objectives and influence on sector and community development, environmental and social sustainability, and promoting good governance in addition to its economic viability. The business events industry, one of the six priority economic sectors listed in the PCDS, is poised to play a pivotal role in achieving the strategy’s mission.

“This is Sarawak adopting transformative thinking — first-tier thinking,” said The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg. “Legacy impact is Sarawak’s value proposition beyond business events, but the proposition for all sectors and industries. We can no longer confine our thinking to just Sarawak. We must adopt a broader perspective that incorporates the opportunities present in Borneo. Indonesia’s new capital Nusantara is already developing and once it emerges, our business events industry should be ready to seize opportunities.”

“To support these measures, the Sarawak Government is already planning to develop new infrastructure,” continued the Premier. “Borneo Convention Centre Kuching will be expanded; Miri will have its own convention centre, and Sarawak is establishing its own airline to improve our connectivity around the region. We will also expand the manpower at Business Events Sarawak, who will drive these changes. The agency will take on a critical role and funding will be increased to support sustainable, purpose-driven business events.

The Premier also announced that the current Anak Sarawak Awards will be retired in favour of a bigger and bolder programme to complement Sarawak’s vision of becoming a legacy capital. The new programme is titled “Borneo Inspires Legacy Awards” and will encompass fresh categories and welcome nominations from all over the world. 

Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts revealed that the industry’s performance is surpassing expectations. “In 2022, Sarawak exceeded its initial target by 111% to secure 100 business events worth RM RM326.3 million in total economic impact — surpassing the target by 196%. Delegate expenditure is estimated at RM117.3 million and tax revenue of RM19.6 million, while 26,000 job opportunities are expected to arise,” said The Honourable Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. “We won every international bid last year at 100% — an increase of 15.8% in 2020 and 7% in 2021 — indicating that we have a strong value proposition in legacy impact.  Echoing the Premier, the new narrative of business events will cast a wider net to secure impacts beyond tourism.”

Behind Sarawak’s transformation is a decisive strategy that is consistent with its strategic direction on legacy impact. “We are launching the Legacy Impact Master Action Plan in Germany on 23 May at IMEX Frankfurt — one of the world’s largest business events trade shows” announced Amelia Roziman, BESarawak’s CEO. “One component of the action plan is to recognise the innovation and social impact of the business events industry, hence the new award programme as announced by Premier.”

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