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Increased accessibility can accelerate East Malaysian growth

16 July 2019

Borneo Post Online

KUCHING: Increased accessibility to infrastructure can accelerate resource-rich states in East Malaysia and boost its key sectors like industrial, tourism, mining and agriculture, Orangebeam’s Group chief executive officer Datuk Faris Yahaya.

According to Faris, access to basic infrastructure is necessary for social and economic growth.

“The lack of energy, water and transportation infrastructures further inhibit access to education, healthcare, marketplace – basically opportunities that make a difference to the standards of living in Malaysia,” he said in a statement.

“We cannot refute the plethora of benefits that comes from greater access to infrastructure. Increased accessibility can accelerate resource-rich states in East Malaysia and boost its key sectors like industrial, tourism, mining and agriculture.

“Let’s be reminded that Sarawak currently stands as the third highest contributor to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by Sabah in fifth place. With increased access to infrastructure, East Malaysia has tremendous potential in driving the country’s economy forward.”

Faris went on to hhghlight that their efforts in further building and growing East Malaysia states is paramount.

He explained that in Sabah, for example, there are untapped opportunities for resource-based manufacturing facilities, particularly in moving downstream and producing high quality goods and services.

“Sarawak comes with valuable resources that can attract investments in new industrial growth areas. However, on the flipside, it is disheartening to learn that some schools in Sarawak are in dilapidated condition with no clean water and electricity supply.”

Faris also highlighted that in 2018, a Sandakan MP revealed that around 60 per cent of the sewerage system in the town has been out of order for two years.

He stressed that while the state governments have allocated large sums of budgets for improvement and introduced high-impact initiatives and policies, East Malaysia’s development will require stakeholders across the entire value chain to play their part as well.

“It is encouraging that our government has placed infrastructure improvements in East Malaysia high on their agenda, despite recent measures to tighten budget spends.

“I applaud their efforts to improve procurement and open tendering systems to ensure budget allocations are spent optimally. This move is key in cultivating competitiveness among players and driving greater innovation from the building industry.

“However, we need to explore other cost-saving solutions for infrastructure developments. Here I’d like to focus on one: adoption of technology.”

Faris noted that when the construction market in the UK was contracting, companies there called for a digital revolution.

He further noted that UK experts believe that embracing these solutions could boost overall productivity in the sector by up to 40 per cent.

“Yes, fortune favours those who are bold. With technology and innovative solutions, we can be more cost-effective in our operations especially during downturn in construction activities and adverse market conditions.”

“There is no two ways about it. With dynamism and innovation, we can solve complex construction problems and deliver iconic projects and contribute to the wider built environment. Ultimately, disruption in the industry requires a large amount of collaboration between developers, providers and various government bodies.

“At Orangebeam, our mission is to collaborate and work closely with local city councils, policymakers, authorities and relevant industry stakeholders in East Malaysia to understand the requirements in infrastructure development today.

“It is only when we disrupt the industry together, we can work out how we can develop and improve infrastructure development in Malaysia – and further contribute to our nation’s GDP.”

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