KUCHING: Sarawak will receive tremendous economic spillover from Indonesia's plan to move its capital from the megacity Jakarta to Kalimantan, said its Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Apart from a boon for the tourism industry, Abdul Karim said he foresee the move to also help stimulate energy production sector in the state as well as enhancing road connectivity on the island of Borneo.
“If the plan by Indonesia to relocate its capital to a new location become a reality, it will bring a lot of spillover to Sarawak and Sabah since we are the neighbouring states to Kalimantan.
“A country needs power (electricity supply) to develop a city, in which, an area that can be leverage by Sarawak.
“If there are excess in enery produced by the Bakun hydroelectric dam in Belaga, the state government can always sell it to Indonesia.
“Definitely, we would love to see other kinds of connectivity, be it by road or air (improved) to Kalimantan. The spin-off from there is tremendous,” he told reporters.
It was reported that Indonesian president Joko Widowo recently reaffirmed the plan by the country to move its capital from the traffic-clogged Jakarta to Kalimantan.
Widodo recently posted on his Twitter account that the country’s new capital could be located in Central, East and South of Kalimantan.
During an interview with the New Straits Times recently, Works Minister Baru Bian, who also hails from Sarawak, said the ministry was mulling a Trans Borneo Highway project if there was confirmation on the relocation plan.
The Trans Borneo Highway, said Bian would provide better road connection between Malaysia, via Sarawak and Sabah, with Brunei and Kalimantan.
Abdul Karim, however, refused to "jump the gun" saying he would wait for the official announcement from Indonesia on the matter.
“It (the plan by Indonesia) is a visionary idea.
“However, we will not be able to speculate but it is good for us to be prepared.
“It is like a soft market. Ideas like this will move the affected industries,” he said.
Earlier, Abdul Karim revealed a collaborative effort between the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) with Laduni Services Sdn Bhd together with AirAsia to boost tourism in the state.
Under the collaboration, the overhead cabin compartments of five AirAsia planes will be prominently adorned with visuals depicting tourism spots in Sarawak.
Present were STB chairman Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz, Laduni Services managing director Syed Anuar Syed Ahmad and AirAsia’s Board of Directors non-independent non-executive director, Datuk Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar.
Also present was STB chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor.