Sarawak plans to 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, Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Openg at the 10th Anak Sarawak Awards.
Abang Adul Rahman elaborated: “This is Sarawak adopting transformative thinking — first-tier thinking. 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 this, the Sarawak Government has plans for new infrastructure in place. This includes the expansion of Borneo Convention Centre Kuching; the building of a new convention centre in Miri; and the establishment of a Sarawak-based airline to improve the region’s connectivity.
These plans will be driven by Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak), which Abang Adul Rahman said will be getting an increased headcount due to its “critical role”. Funding will also 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.
Organised by BESarawak on May 12, 2023, the 10th Anak Sarawak Awards is Malaysia’s first business events award programme. This year was themed Passion Inspires Legacies, a celebration of achievements and unwavering commitment. Out of the 27 nominees shortlisted, there were nine winners.
Moving forward, the new programme will be titled Borneo Inspires Legacy Awards and will encompass fresh categories and welcome nominations from all over the world, shared Abang Adul Rahman.
Speaking at the same event, Sarawak’s minister of tourism, creative industry and performing arts, Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, revealed that the industry’s performance has surpassed expectations.
He said: “In 2022, Sarawak exceeded its initial target by 111 per cent to secure 100 business events worth RM326.3 million (US$72.6 million) in total economic impact — surpassing the target by 196 per cent. Delegate expenditure is estimated at RM117.3 million and tax revenue of RM19.6 million, while 26,000 job opportunities are expected to arise.
“We won every international bid last year at 100 per cent, an increase of 15.8 per cent in 2020 and seven per cent 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.
Amelia Roziman, BESarawak’s CEO, elaborated: “We are launching the Legacy Impact Master Action Plan in Germany on 23 May at IMEX Frankfurt. 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.”